Pitch Perfect 2


            Church choir people make good music nerds.  We realize how much hard work it is to maintain really fine harmonies, and to memorize music.  Never mind the dancing.  Most of us Presbyterians have a hard time with the idea of taking a tambourine and keeping a beat while we’re singing the anthem, much less trying to move our feet at the same time.  But we can appreciate how difficult it is.

            There’s a lot of talent to enjoy in ‘Pitch Perfect 2” (just like there was in the original).  These women can both sing and dance, and even at the same time.  The story is a little lame, but then, it’s just an excuse for the musical performances, anyway, kind of like “Glee Goes To College.

            OK, what plot there is:  sorority singing group is suspended for a performance that brought embarrassment to the school, and told they are forbidden to compete in the national a cappella competition.  OK, they can still go to the worlds in Copenhagen, but they’re disbanded permanently unless they actually can win it.

            The girls are disappointed, of course, but several of the Seniors think that it may be time to think about life after college, anyway—including Beca (the ageless wonder Anna Kendrick), their primary arranger.   The group seems just about ready to disband, when they find new energy from a freshman “legacy,” Emily (the terminally cute Hailee Steinfeld).  Still, they struggle to “find their harmony” again, until they all go out on---a camping trip!  Yeah, it sounds hackneyed, but around the campfire cooking marshmallows they have some great bonding moments, and tell the truth about themselves in a way that they were afraid to do before.  Now that the sisterhood is strengthened, they can go about the business of winning the big competition.

The little bits of humor and irony are a nice offset---Beca’s character finds herself being attracted to the lead singer of their big rival group, which effectively deflects her attempted intimidation.  The competition commentator, played with a straight face by John Michael Higgins, gets to spout some deliciously politically-incorrect lines.  But basically this is a chick flick, and the men are just ancillary, anyway.  No doubt the audience will be primarily female, as well---but we church choir nerds can still appreciate the musicality here.  It’s not “churchy,” or even “religious,” but it is well-rehearsed, well-presented, and easy on the ears.


Questions for Discussion:

1)       Have you been part of a group that got in trouble for inadvertently embarrassing the institution it represented?  What were the consequences?

2)      Have you been part of a group that faced disciplinary action?  If so, did the experience negatively affect the group, or eventually make it stronger?

3)      When has a camping/retreat setting been rejuvenating for you?  When has it not, and what was the difference in the circumstances?

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen is the Supply Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Kaufman, Texas