Monday, June 8, 2015

Pass The Popcorn: Pitch Perfect 2

"We're back, Pitches."

My teenage daughter's schedule is more hectic than it's ever been. And — more to the point if I'm being honest — going to a movie with her lovin' mama isn't as high on her list as it once was. 

Oh, let's face it. Going to the movies with me isn't on her list at all.

Nevertheless, we have a cool new cinema in town (after many years without). It has assigned stadium-seating — big, cushy chairs with cup holders and trays for the snacks you can order from the restaurant next door. Best of all, it's walking distance from our house, a nice touch considering that the nearest mulitplex is a good 25-minute drive. I keep an eye on the marquee, hoping that there might be something I can persuade my distracted (disinterested) young offspring to go to with me.

Most of the time, we have a choice of something fairly adult and edgy or the latest biggest-budget blockbuster like The Marvelous Avengers Meet The Justice League At The Edge Of Tomorrow And Beyond 2 in 3-D

Not really my cup of tea or even my daughter's.

About three weeks ago, I was pleased to see that Pitch Perfect 2 was playing. A couple of years ago, I took my daughter and a BFF to see the first Pitch Perfect. Despite some fairly nauseating (and, in my opinion, unnecessary) special effects, we thought it was a lot of fun. So, my daughter readily agreed.

Choosing the movie should have been the hard part, right? No. 'Turned out that one of her friends wanted to join us. Of course I said "Yes." First of all, I genuinely like my daughter's friends. Plus, I figured this particular bud would probably appreciate the film; he's a drama guy. But that was the problem.

Or, should I say "Ay, there's the rub."

No, he wasn't appearing in Hamlet, but he was playing Macduff, the avenging hero of Macbeth. His rehearsals precluded our going the first week. Surprisingly, the movie was held over. But, our companion couldn't go the next week either because of his performances. Miraculously, the movie was held over one more time. I locked in an evening unencumbered by show business, riding lessons, babysitting or anticipated homework.

(Although I think he would have understood, my daughter refused to go without her friend. I'd like to think this is a sign of her sense of loyalty — it makes me feel better than thinking it's a sign of her unwillingness to go to a movie just with me. Anyway ...)

The movie, as expected, was funny and musical and had a girl power theme running through it as well. "Fat Amy" pretty much stole the show (as she did the first time around). Anna Kendrick and the rest of the "Barden Bellas" have terrific voices and the singing was top-notch. In the sequel, most of the Bellas are getting ready to graduate. Because of an aerial no-underwear situation (don't ask), they've lost their official acapella status. The only way they can redeem themselves is to win a prestigious international competition, one that no Americans have ever won. ("They hate us!" explain the acapella officials, laughing. "They really hate us!") The competition is a severe — and flawless — team of German singers. 

Mayhem ensues.

The ending was pretty predictable (suffice it to say, they don't "hate us" anymore). But, I thought the movie was fun. When we debriefed, my daughter, to her credit, pointed out that some of the humor was a bit too reality-based to be funny. In particular, there are many jokes about what a latina international student, Florencia "Flo" Fuentes, is going home to (kidnapping, deportation, dying at sea trying to sneak back into this country, almost being sold for a chicken when she was nine). The actress, Chrissy Fit, a Cuban-American, hopes her role will "start a conversation." And, in fairness, most of her anecdotes are in response to the other Bellas thinking that not being allowed to sing is "the end of the world." Apparently not. There are worse fates out there, ladies.

Also, Pitch Perfect 2 (like Pitch Perfect before it) is an equal opportunity offender. They poke rather mean fun at fat girls, lesbians, princesses, control freaks, all varieties of ethnic, and even the very petite but otherwise perfect Kendrick.

Still, I confess I was a little bit embarrassed by my daughter's reaction — or more specifically, my lack thereof.

Or maybe I was a little bit proud. 

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