Pitch Perfect 2 has been canned by many. But those who don’t like it are completely missing the point.
Women, in general, aren’t funny.
This is the line, the impression that so many people have. Women can try their very best to try and play in the comedic big leagues with the boys, but all in all, they just won’t make it.
Because women aren’t funny. Women are demure. Women are placid. Women are pretty and tender and caring and sexual but not funny, not really.
This belief, sometimes uttered and often thought, is why the first installment of Pitch Perfect was such an important movie.
In this movie, women were making jokes. They were making jokes that people actually laughed at. And what’s more, not all of their jokes revolved around men.
Instead these women were clever, they were strong-willed, they went against social norms, and they were above all, entertaining.
This is why the release of Pitch Perfect 2 came with such enormous expectations. People wanted to see the same surprising spark, the same empowering message.
But this time, most people aren’t laughing. And instead, many people have been bitterly disappointed.
Some critics have canned it, saying:
“It actually is difficult to write a review of Pitch Perfect 2. First you have to think up and reject a bunch of adjectives and nouns to pair with “a ca,” as in, “It’s a ca-lousy” or “It’s a ca-piece of shit.” – Vulture
“Ethnic clichés abound, college comes off as a free sleepaway camp, and the simple wonders of unaccompanied singing are inflated to Las Vegas-style bombast.” – New Yorker
And if truth be told, I tend to agree with some of this.
In this movie, the depiction of Fat Amy is sometimes ridiculous. She often focused on the one gag that revolved in some way around her weight.
Other characters also tended to have one main joke that they would stick by. Cynthia Rose, a character played by Ester Dean only made lesbian jokes. Florencia Fuentes, the Guatemalan character played by Chrissie Fit only made jokes about Guatemala and human trafficking, Lilly Onakuramara, the quiet Asian girl played by Hana Mae Lee, made violent jokes.
Although these jokes were often funny, they were also much more one-dimensional than the first movie. There were some funny lines, but they weren’t as prevalent as in the first movie.
Despite its name, we can all agree that the movie was in no way pitch perfect.
But. And there is a huge but. The movie really didn’t have to be all about the funny. And by only focusing on the humour aspect of the movie, many of its critics are missing the elements of the movie worth celebrating.
These are the reasons we should still be loving Pitch Perfect 2:
1. It shows a range of female characters that have chosen not to conform to social norms.
It shows women who have chosen to explore their love of music, or feel empowered to follow their passion and start a retreat, or have even admitted they don’t know what they want to do with their life, an admission that is very rarely portrayed on the big screen.
2. This movie passes the Bechdel test with flying colours.
It shows scenes with named female characters having conversations with each other that are not revolve around men (shocking, I know).
3. This movie is the second-best debut for a female director.
Elizabeth Banks directed this movie, and its debut was second only to that of 50 Shades of Grey by Sam Taylor-Johnson earlier this year.
4. This movie has the best soundtrack since Pitch Perfect 1
It has a mix of songs that are old and new, and gets people excited about singing.
Pitch Perfect 2 is not perfect. But it is incredibly entertaining, and it is still an extremely worthwhile contribution to movies about women in general. It can still make a difference to representation of women on and off-screen, without ticking every single box that so many dictate movies need in order to make a point. It can still make a point, and it can still be powerful.
And what’s more, it can make even the most staunch believer of women not being funny laugh. If only a little.
Take a look through some behind the scenes photos from the Premiere of Pitch Perfect 2.