‘Pitch Perfect 2' is rather flat, despite singing football players

Clay Matthews

Clay Matthews and some of his Green Bay Packers teammates join in on the fun of “Pitch Perfect 2" with an acapella performance.

(Richard Cartwright / Universal Studios)

This new movie featuring the Green Bay Packers is a heaping mess, one of the worst a cappella movies I’ve ever seen. It’s also the only a cappella movie I’ve ever seen.

Yep, “Pitch Perfect 2" features a small chorus of Packers singing a cappella. I hate to let the air out of your pigskin, but even their bravura performance can’t save this broken play. Don’t read too much into the box office bonanza: PP2 isn’t very good.

I know exactly what you’re thinking: It’s so unlike Hollywood to make a bad movie.

My notes after the screening looks like a madman’s frantic scribbling. But really, these notes reflect, in a splotchy Rorschach’s sort of way, exactly what was occurring up there on the big screen.


Worst movie ever?

Who am I to judge? Maybe I’m just punch-drunk on stories about Deflategate and droughts. And Letterman’s retirement has left me a little cranky.

Besides, most of America seems smitten with this tale of a college a cappella group off to win the world championship. “Girl Power!” and all that. An avid feminist, I’m all for girls and power, as long as they use it responsibly.

Far as I can tell, though, this movie mostly insults and objectifies young women. And though its aspirations aren’t very high, it didn’t really make me laugh much either, despite my great appreciation for a cheap giggle.


The typical Lysol commercial has a better script.

But the Packers are in it, America’s team. Is there anything more American than the Green Bay Packers? Chevys? Coca-Cola?

So I checked out PP2.

After a promising start, movie remorse began to roll through my body like bad sangria.

I began to feel the same way a new mother must when she test-squirts a few scalding drops of baby formula on her wrist: “Ouch... that was sorta stupid.”

As for the topic, my kids used to make me watch “Glee,” a similar TV show. Not my thing, right? Well, “Glee” was pretty good. In its heyday, there was a lot of honest and fine writing on “Glee.”

There is none of that here.

I also really liked “The Blind Side,” another movie featuring offensive linemen. Perhaps it’s time that O-linemen back off and let some of the less-glamorous positions have their moments.


“It’s crazy how this thing developed,” explains Jordan Rodgers, little brother of Aaron and a former training camp teammate of Packers offensive lineman David Bakhtiari, a die-hard fan of the original movie.

"[David] sent a somewhat cryptic message to some of the producers, and the next thing you know....”

Well, the next thing you know, a half-dozen pro football players are in the sequel, the best part of an a cappella sing-off scene. With Clay Matthews as the front man, they spent four long days on set, often sitting around in ways players aren’t used to in the go-go-go world of NFL practices.

At one point during their dance number, filmmakers told the players to “just wing it,” a command the players were unaccustomed to.

“We need a little more direction than that,” Bakhtiari recalls with a laugh. “We were 100% out of our comfort zone.”

Good sports, all of them, and to me their scene is the only memorable moment in this movie. You have to give the players props for taking a chance on what is essentially a chick flick.

Yet, “Pitch Perfect 3" seems as inevitable as another New England Patriots scandal. These a cappella movies probably don’t offer much for old-schoolers — or no-schoolers — like me. That they could become a genre is actually a bit frightening.

But it is further evidence that the line between sports and pop culture blurs a little more every day.


Sports is pop culture.

“A buddy texted me,” Bakhtiari says. ""He said it’s unbelievable — you’re a pro athlete, you’re in a big movie, and [the soundtrack is] the No. 1 album on iTunes.”

“It’s quite a trifecta,” Bakhtiari says.

Coming soon: Taylor Swift returns punts for the Chicago Bears.

Follow Chris Erskine on Twitter @erskinetimes

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