Successful sequels are few and far between. Most of the follow-ups that do work succeed because they drop the established characters into an almost completely different environment. The stumbles Pitch Perfect 2 encounters (and there are many) is when they try too hard to have part 2 become just an extension of part 1. Seen as a stand-alone endeavour, the film is more enjoyable.
The oddly cadenced film suffers from a script that is very uneven and a directing style that didn’t help to stitch things together. First time full-length film director Elizabeth Banks (who also stars in the film) just doesn’t have the accumulated chops to add much to the mix.
When the film relies on storyline, it’s a bit of a mess but as a platform for one-liners, it is very funny. Rebel Wilson does the most with her joke riddled part and her over the top persona rivals the franchise’s most consistently funny trade mark which is the outrageous banter between the A Capella comp commentators played with hilarious effect by John Michael Higgins and the above mentioned Banks.
Seen as a stand-alone film, Pitch Perfect 2 is filled with a large helping of funny one-liners and some moving musical moments. As a sequel it is dramatically less successful.