When I heard the Barden Bellas were back, I couldn’t wait to take my tween to see Pitch Perfect 2. I even offered to take a group of her friends on Saturday night and I was surprised when I received a curt, “no thanks,” from a few moms. Despite the fact that the movie is filled with sexual innuendos, double entendre, chauvinism and stereotypes, Pitch Perfect 2’s overall message is a powerful one for middle school girls and I didn’t want my daughter to miss it.
I love the fact my daughter’s favorite character is not the beautiful and poised Becca (played by Anna Kendrick) but the super confident Fat Amy—a name the character gives herself in the first movie so “twig bitches” don’t say it behind her back. Fat Amy (played by Rebel Wilson) sets Pitch Perfect 2’s storyline in motion when she has an epic wardrobe malfunction in front of President Obama and the First Lady. Fat Amy hangs from the Kennedy Center ceiling Cirque-du-Soleil-style while singing “Wrecking Ball,” only to have her tights split open, leaving her vagina exposed because she is not wearing underwear. This incident causes the Bellas to be banned from performing ever again, unless they can win an international a cappella competition, which no U.S. group has ever done.
Although this movie pushes the envelope of PG-13, we don’t actually see Fat Amy’s vagina but we do hear a lot about it. For instance, we know it is au natural because, in addition to receiving a ton of hate mail, one of Fat Amy’s haters also mails her a home hair removal kit.
Pitch Perfect 2 is filled with raunchy jokes. When the German a cappella group, Das Sound Machine, replaces the Bellas on the a cappella circuit, Fat Amy says the group is from doucheland. There are also maxi pad jokes, tons of college drinking and lots implied sex. Much to my surprise, my daughter finds comments like, “You don’t come to gentleman’s house and touch his goose,” hilarious, leaving me to wonder if she actually understands the humor or is just laughing because everyone else in the theater is.
Honestly, I don’t care because at its core, this movie has an empowering message about being yourself, finding supportive friends, figuring out what your dream is and working hard to make it happen, while taking some risks along the way. Each of the five main Bellas offers a powerful message that I want my daughter to hear, even if she has to laugh at some lewd jokes along the way.
Sometimes you have to break away from the pack to grow. Chloe (played by Brittany Snow) admits that she purposely failed her Russian Literature class three times because she is afraid to graduate and then leave the Bellas behind. But Chloe realizes there is life after the Bellas, and that even when she leaves Barden, the other Bellas will always be her friends.
Play to your strengths. Aubrey (played by Anna Camp) provides living proof that there is life after the Bellas. While at Barden, Aubrey’s whole life was the Bellas but, after leaving Barden, Aubrey figures out what she is best at—bossing people around—and puts it to work developing a successful retreat center for corporations.
It’s OK to bend the rules… a little. A cappella groups typically sing cover songs but Emily (played by Hailee Steinfeld) doesn’t want to sing someone else’s songs. She wants to write her own music and sing it a cappella with the Bellas.
It’s OK to ask a friend for help. When Becca, the loner of the group, gets the opportunity of a lifetime to give a music producer a demo, she learns that she might be more successful if she collaborates with Emily.
Don’t be afraid to love someone. Super confident Fat Amy realizes she doesn’t always have to play the clown or be nonchalant about relationships. While talking with the other Bellas about life after graduation, she realizes that she is in love.
Hard work pays off. Despite the uphill battle, the Bellas don’t give up on winning the international competition, even without the support of the university or a fan base. They also don’t let that group from “doucheland” get under their skin or mess with their heads.