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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pitch Perfect 2 is the sequel to 2012's word-of-mouth a capella hit Pitch Perfect. Many of the stars from the first movie -- including Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Skylar Astin, and Adam Devine -- reprise their roles in this installment, which is equally teen-friendly, albeit with a bit of edge. As in the original, there are jokes at the expense of the overweight, though the main overweight character also embraces her appearance. Commentator characters also make blatantly racist and sexist comments, but they're intended to be seen as over the top. Expect frequent innuendo and sexual humor (an incident in which a character's pants split during a performance is referred to as "Muffgate," and there's making out, a pillow fight scene with young women in skimpy PJs, etc.), as well as characters who swear a blue streak ("s--t," "d--k," etc.), drink, and get into verbal fights. But they're also grappling with big questions about career, friendship, and love, all of which will resonate with teens.
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What's the story?
Beca (Anna Kendrick) and most of the rest of the Barden Bellas are about to graduate from college In PITCH PERFECT 2. It's a fraught time, made even more challenging by the fact that the Bellas have been suspended from the a capella circuit after an unfortunate mishap that left Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) showing an audience body parts that are best left covered up. The Bellas' only hope to regain their good name is to beat a formidable German team in an international competition. But Beca is preoccupied with impressing her boss at a new internship, hoping it will be her big break in the music industry.
Is it any good?
It has to be said: The music is great, but this sequel isn't aca-awesome. Nor is it aca-mazing, aca-licious, or any of the other words that describe the original, which was an inspired case of geeky genius. Pitch Perfect 2 tries to capture the same glory by relying on old reliables -- like the cast, for starters, most of whom are back. But the magic's not there, simply because we've seen much of this before. The plot is skeletal, the forces that move the story forward are rudimentary (and, it must be said, stereotypical -- are we really still making jokes about fearsome, robotic-seeming Germans?). And enough with the fat jokes that are meant to seem empowered simply because the self-named Fat Amy is making them.
Where Pitch Perfect 2 does come alive is in the singing, which makes perfect sense, given that the film is, after all, about the joys of sisterhood, group harmony, and unbridled a capella love. See it for the music, but prepare to ignore some disappointments.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how a capella unites -- and divides -- Pitch Perfect 2's characters. What's the role of music in their lives and friendships? Do you think they'd be friends without the group? Have you ever been involved in an activity that was this important to you and your friends?
Fat Amy calls herself "fat" as a way to get ahead of any possible bullying and because she's proud of herself just the way she is. What do you think of this approach? (Also, talk to your kids about bullying and how to handle it if it happens.)
Graduation looms large for these characters. Why is this such a troubling, intense moment for these characters?
How do the Pitch Perfect movies present female friendship? Do you think they're realistic? Can you think of other movies and TV shows that cover similar ground?
- In theaters: May 15, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: September 22, 2015
- Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld
- Director: Elizabeth Banks
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Character Strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 115 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: innuendo and language
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