Director: Elizabeth Banks
I shan’t be surprised if the Paranjoti Chorus, Newman and Cantata choirs were saddened when “The Sing Off”, a wonderful a cappella competition TV show was yanked off by the DTH powers that be here for reasons best known to themselves. The hilarious Whose Line is it Anyway and America’s Got Talent which showcase musical (and other) prowess also seem to have met a similar fate.Thank goodness for American Idol and The Voice! The reason your reviewer feels so terribly,terribly deprived is because The Sing Off produced by Deke Sharon who is also the musical producer of “Pitch Perfect” and “Pitch Perfect 2,” celebrates pure music, music that is far removed from synthesiser and computer-generated ripoffs. And while everyone in the talented ensemble cast sings from the heart, the movie also showcases song-and-dance flash,splash and razzmatazz which have become a part of music performance. The Stop Gaps and their multi-talented conductor Alfred D’Souza cottoned on to this long ago as those of you who have attended their concerts at the NCPA will agree.
PP2 comes to us three years after the success of the original film about a group of female collegians, the Barden Bellas who graduate from the campus scene to the international arena. The vocals (which live up to the film`s title ) and the competition are integral to the plot but why did the movie resort to crass lingo and vulgar jokes in the manner of one Adam Sandler? And I`m referring to the politically incorrect observations (about race,women etc) of one half of the broadcasting duo of Gail (Elizabeth Banks, who produced both instalments and directs the sequel) and John (John Michael Higgins). I`m talking about the ignominy that`s inflicted on the pretty blonde who answers to the name of Fat Amy ( Rebel Wilson) whose size and lack of innerwear at a Lincoln Center performance in the august presence of President Barack Obama and First Lady, Michelle result in expulsion from domestic tours.
Oh,I know, I know it’s only a movie and I should be more understanding, charitable, forgiving and all that, but then the film goes on ad nauseam about Amy’s anatomy. Mercifully, the gang gets on with the very important business of winning a World Competition title in Copenhagen to redeem themselves in America. We see Chloe (Brittany Snow, Prom Night) struggling to get the girls shipshape while Beca (Anna Kendrick) nurses ambitions which are kept strictly private: The Bellas are blissfully unaware she is interning for Keegan (Michael Key, hilarious) a music producer and boss out of hell who treats staff like they’re still in kids in kindergarten. Then, a newbie Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) whose mother was a Bella in her time at Barden, rekindles hopes of the team winning against competition from the world over, including India,our India. But the stiffest competition comes from German a cappella group called Das Sound Machine whose musical numbers are eye popping to say the least. Me, I wasn’t surprised, after all, Germany is the land of Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Strauss, Schubert,Mendelssohn,Wagner. The list is long and I could go on and on… Alack and alas, you won’t find echoes of these geniuses in the mash-ups in PP2 ( look for them in The Beatles and The Seekers to name just two groups) But PP2 has romance and a great soundtrack although you won’t find memorable songs like the ones from The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady and West Side Story, songs that you can go around singing all your life. However, the riff-off in the basement of a rich fan’s imposing mansion is spectacular. As is Kendrick and Snoop Dogg’s wonderful cover of Winter Wonderland. So do go watch. And enjoy.