2012's Pitch Perfect was an unexpected hit, earning great reactions from audiences for its pretty weird mix of oddball humour, sports movie stuff and - of course - those A Capella remixes of popular songs. I still didn't really expect a sequel to appear but here it is.
And it's a lot of fun. There are singing competitions and awkward moments, dramatic plot meanders and much talk about finding your pitch again. The cast remains game - Anna Kendrick steps back a little, allowing the likes of Rebel Wilson and new recruit Hailee Steinfeld to shine and just when the film flags a little Hana Mae Lee pop ups and says something totally weird to get things back on track.
It's definitely more of a comedy than the first one, with a lot of time spent on setting up one liners (many of which land) and a lot of off the cuff remarks from Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins which are often cruel. And just as often funny.
The film also marks the feature directing debut of Banks and she does a pretty decent job. The bigger budget film looks well and she wrangles the large cast into good shape, while she's clearly got a bit of a knack for comedy - helped by the fact that most of the ensemble are pretty funny folks.
The only real problem with Pitch Perfect 2 is that it loses the element of the surprise that the first film had. The music is back this time and isn't quite as good, the sometimes bizarre humour is back but doesn't feel as strangely amusing this time around.
That said, it's fun to see a sequel which retains the original cast and but it does rehash quite a lot of the first film to slightly less effect. And I still don't really know why Skylar Astin is in these films - no one cares about the romance they just want to see these girls sing. And there isn't quite enough of that this time around.