Australian Council on Children and the Media

Pitch Perfect 2

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Not recommended under 14; parental guidance recommended 14-15 due to sexual references and coarse language

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Pitch Perfect 2
  • a review of Pitch Perfect 2 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 11 May 2015.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 14 Not recommended due to sexual references and coarse language
Children 14-15 Parental guidance recommended due to sexual references and coarse language
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Pitch Perfect 2
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Sexual references
Length 115 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Pitch Perfect 2 is a comedy-musical that follows the all-female a cappella group, the Barden Bellas, as they take to the international stage. Despite having won three previous championships, the girls tarnish their reputation when one of their performances involves an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction for Amy (Rebel Wilson). As a result, the girls are suspended from competing nationally by Barden University. However, the Dean cannot prevent them from accepting the invitation they have already received to compete in the World a Cappella Competition. No American team has ever won, and the girls are told that they either win the competition, or suffer the breakup of their team for good.

The team is eventually joined by a new girl named Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) – her mother was a Bella, and she is passionate about both singing and writing music. Meanwhile, one of the most talented members Bec (Anna Kendrick) is trying to juggle her new internship with her commitments to the group.

The group most likely to win the World Competition is a German group called Das Sound Machine and the Bellas soon discover that they are formidable opponents. The girls realise that a lot of teamwork and commitment is needed to compete at international level.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Singing groups and competition; relationships; personal growth

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

None of concern

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Nothing of concern

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Nothing of concern

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

There is some product placement in the film, including:

  • Apple laptops
  • References to the Grammys, as well as artists like Snoop Dog and Eminem.

Sexual references

There are frequent sexual references in the film, including:

  • During the a cappella performance, the girls are dressed in quite sexy outfits and dance in a provocative way – they place their hands on their breasts, sway their hips, etc.
  • ‘Sorry my boobs are all crazy, I was just jumping’ – Amy says this to Emily when she greets her at the door.
  • Emily’s last name is ‘Junk’, and her dad’s surname was ‘Hardon’.
  • Bec says ‘Just because you are making me sexually confused…’ to the lead singer of Das Sound Machine, implying that she is attracted to her.
  • Amy says ‘I’d like to be the brisket in that man’s sandwich’
  • One of the challenges in a small competition is to sing a ‘song about butts’.
  • Bumper asks Amy randomly ‘Would you like to have sex later?’
  • ‘You have a lovely vagina’

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some sexual activity in the film, including:

  • Amy’s pants split during a performance, and it becomes obvious to people that she is not wearing any underwear. The crowd screams, and tries to look away. The event is later presented on the news, and the word ‘vagina’ is beeped out.  
  • Bec kisses her boyfriend before her audition.
  • Amy states that she has ‘met three of the Wiggles… intimately’, implying she has sex with them.
  • Bumper and Amy often sneak off together, and it is implied that they have sex.
  • Emily kisses Benji.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • The Bellas go to a party, and there seem to be alcoholic drinks being consumed by the students.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language throughout the film, including:

  • ‘Damn’, used in one of the songs.
  • ‘Tramps’
  • ‘Die, bitches, die’, in a letter of hate mail.
  • ‘Oh my god’
  • Let’s not be dicks about it’
  • ‘Shut up’

In a nutshell

Pitch Perfect 2, the sequel to Pitch Perfect, is an inspiring story about a group of young girls who lose their way, both professionally and personally. As a result of emotionally drifting apart from one another as their college years draw to a close, the Barden Bellas find themselves struggling to perform as a group. The film highlights that often the real issue that needs to be addressed may not be what it initially appears to be. The girls begin to believe they are bad singers, but they really just need to rediscover their voice together as a team. The film also demonstrates the importance of friendship, and of not being afraid to reach for the stars.

The film is likely to appeal to tweens and teens, particularly those who were fans of the first film, but it is not recommended for children under 14. Parents may be concerned about the coarse language and frequent sexual references.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Allow your friends to support you during difficult times, as opposed to trying to go through challenges alone.
  • It is important to face your fears, and to take risks in order to make worthwhile achievements.
  • Following your passions can give your life meaning and direction.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • How the opinions of other people can impact a person’s self-esteem and self confidence in achieving their goals.
  • The media’s interpretation of things – e.g. presenting an accidental instance of stage nudity as terrorism, loose morals, etc.
  • Gender stereotypes and misogyny, in instances such as the quote ‘The truth is, you’re just women. And you’ll all be pregnant soon’.
  • Poverty and the difficulties faced by people in socioeconomic and racial minorities.

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