Tag Archives: David Cross

The Pitch is Back

Pitch Perfect 2

by Hope Madden

In 2012, Elizabeth Banks produced a film that was “an inspiration to girls all over the country too ugly to be cheerleaders.” And now it’s time to return to Barton University to get our accompaniment-free groove on in Pitch Perfect 2.

That’s right, pitches.

The Barton Bellas, having survived power struggles, forbidden romance and intimacy issues, have been the reigning collegiate a cappella champs for 3 years. However, an a cappella-tastrophe during a command performance at the Lincoln Center stripped the group of their title, and their only way to get it back is to become the first Americans to win the World Competition.

To do it, they’ll have to beat the Germans. Just like Rocky, but with singing … and comedy that’s intentional.

Banks returns in her role as one half of a bedecked competition commentator duo, opposite the endlessly hilarious John Michael Higgins. While their hysterical banter punctuates the proceedings, Banks also directs this time around. She shows as strong a sense of comic timing behind the camera as she has always shown in front of it, but really impresses when staging the musical numbers.

The game cast returns for seconds, with a dry, self-deprecating Anna Kendrick leading up the singing sisterhood. Rebel Wilson and Adam DeVine are back, ensuring plenty of uncomfortable lunacy, while a stable of fun cameos including David Cross, Jason Jones and Keegan-Michael Key keeps scenes fresh and funny.

I’m no Green Bay Packers fan, but it’s a lot of fun watching Clay Matthews and most of their offensive line sing Bootilicious.

Plenty of bits feel stale, too. As with any sequel, the novelty is gone and certain jokes have more than run their course by now. The storyline is a bit too predictable and tidy, the new characters are not compelling, and now and again Banks returns to a gag once too often.

Still, Kendrick is a solid foundation. She’s a talented comic performer who sings remarkably well, so a good place to build your movie. Kay Cannon’s script balances silliness, raunch and heart quite well, and those folks looking for lots of exceptionally choreographed numbers won’t be disappointed.




Queue Takes its Comedy Like its Coffee: Black with a Disastrous Brunch

Writer/director Todd Berger’s pitch black comedy of manners It’s a Disaster launches to the online/DVD masses today. In an uncharacteristically empathetic lead turn, David Cross stars as good guy Glen, on a date with Tracy (Julia Stiles) to her BFFs’ monthly couples’ brunch. And then the world ends. The ensemble nails every character and makes the most of Berger’s warped sense of humor and keen sense of etiquette. Cross does not disappoint, taking us places we never expected.

If you find yourself in the mood for another top notch pitch black comedy, try out Serial Mom. Back in 1994, provocateur John Waters unleashed one of his most competent and polished efforts, which zeroed in on trouble in the ‘burbs. A never better Kathleen Turner portrays perfect mom Beverly Sutphin, a woman finally driven to repeated instances of homicide. We’ve all been there, Bev.