WE NEED EACH OTHER, MESS AND ALL
You have to give movies like Pitch Perfect 2 their credit. Twenty – even ten – years ago, no one in Hollywood would guess that you could have a hit movie, nay, franchise based centered on a mostly-female cast with no real star power (not quite there yet, Ms. Kendrick, but close) leading that ensemble. The fact that Hollywood is able to produce such a sequel now goes to show not how much Hollywood has grown – they still only care about cha-ching – but rather, how the audience has changed.
And ultimately, it comes down to this: people are hungry to belong. In a world where we are more “connected” with each other than ever before, we feel disconnected from one another. And this is why sitcoms like How I Met Your Mother and Pitch Perfect work – they preach this message of community and belonging that we find ourselves so starved for.
As for the movie itself, it’s about what you can expect it to be if you saw the first. Those who liked the first will probably be pleased with this effort. Those who didn’t like the first shouldn’t expect to like this one any more. Guys: your girl could drag you to a lot worse than this. A lot worse.
The story picks up three years after the end of the first, with the Barden Bellas at the top of their game only to come to a crashing fall with a very, well, indecent performance (cue Prez Obama cameo). Banned from domestic competition, they turn to the world stage, hoping to reclaim their crown at the World’s A capela Competition (cue internet sensation Pentatonix cameo). While the pacing of the film leaves something to be desired and a good number of jokes fall flat, there are plenty to make up for it. My personal favorite scene is an underground a capela contest hosted by a weird fanatic (cue David Cross cameo and an excellent Green Bay Packers cameo). Meanwhile, Beca (Oscar-nominee Anna Kendrick) struggles with a studio internship (cue Snoop Dogg cameo), and the group adds naive, song-writing freshman Emily (Oscar-nominee Hailee Steinfeld) to the Bellas.
The cast gels well together, the best addition being Ms. Steinfeld who has been sorely missed from big productions since her amazing performance in 2010’s True Grit. And the original song “Flashlight” by Jessie J could actually stand a chance at an Oscar nomination next year depending on how poppy the Academy is feeling. Another notable addition to the cast is unknown Chrissie Fit as Flo, an immigrant from Guatemala who gets a few should-I-or-should-I-not-laugh moments.
While movies like PP2 may be a bit too irreverent for some believers, I think there’s an important message to be learned in it about community. Too often as Christians, we tend to just cling to our own kind. And I don’t just mean other Christians, but other Christians who “think and act and believe just like me.” This is hardly beneficial to the faith, and we would be better off as a worldwide capital-C Church if we spent more time with others outside of our denominational boxes. As the Bellas are bound together by a love of song, so we should be bound together by the love of Christ. The Bellas are a mess, but they love each other despite it. So should it be for us as the Church. We should celebrate our diversity rather than demonize this denomination for this, that, and the other. Shame on us for doing so. Christ called a diverse group of messed up people to Himself, after all – should we not be grateful for this?
Not to give too much away, but that’s the message of Pitch Perfect 2: that we need each other, mess and all. It takes more than one to create harmony. I hope we can learn it sooner than later.