Tuesday, May 26, 2015
I loved PITCH PERFECT 1. It was a delightful little surprise – funny, sweet, and certainly peppy. And you could almost believe Anna Kendrick and the other actresses were of college age. But the sequel? Yikes – this was your typical Hollywood ridiculous, by-the-numbers money grab with only moments of goodness instead of entire sequences.
Good movies start with a good story, a point, a point-of-view. This one started with “Okay, now what do we do?” The artistic exercise here was to jam in all of your favorite characters, do bigger production numbers, shoehorn in love stories, and up the stakes. If in the first one they had to win a collegiate competition then in the second they have to win the world competition. And once that’s established ten minutes into the film they then have ninety minutes to fill until the actual competition.
So what you’re left with are idiotic spontaneous singing competitions, absurd retreat sequences, and Rebel Wilson fat jokes. Every character is a cartoon, every story-turn silly. Did anyone involved with this even see PITCH PERFECT?
Yes, it’s a movie geared to kids (and it’s doing well in the boxoffice), and when I was a kid we had these stupid music/comedies too – classics like HOW TO STUFF A WILD BIKINI. But they were B-movies, fodder for the drive –ins. They weren’t the big studio summer releases.
Sequels are a bitch. I’ve been involved in two of them and liked neither. You’re just trying to manufacture more of the same. You’re following formulas, grasping at gimmicks, hoping to recapture the magic of the original. So sure, they’re rarely as good. But here’s the sad part -- Hollywood doesn’t give a shit. Their only reason for greenlighting these movies is to make boatloads of money. Summer movies are not ranked by quality or good reviews. They’re ranked strictly by boxoffice. PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2 got a humiliating 6% good reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Only 44% of audiences liked it (which is woeful). But it’s taken in $65 million so far. The studio could not be more thrilled. It’s a home run! As a lifelong hardcore movie fan; as someone who once lived to be in the movie business – I find this heartbreaking. It’s one thing to lower the bar – but 6%?
PITCH PERFECT 2 did better. It scored 67% on Rotten Tomatoes – still not great but certainly decent. You won’t hate PITCH PERFECT 2. You might very well like it. Yes, but will it like enough to go see a PITCH PERFECT 3? That’s the only question Hollywood is asking. If yes, then get Anna Kendrick back on campus even if she’s 35.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM