Bumper In Berlin TV Review
Plot: In the new series for Peacock, Adam Devine's Bumper Allen moves to Germany a few years after we last saw him on Pitch Perfect to revive his music career when one of his songs hit the big time in Berlin.
Review: If you've ever wondered which character from the Pitch perfect Franchise was worth a spin-off of its own, Adam Devine's Bumper Allen was probably at the bottom of the list. An antagonist in the first film and a supporting character in the sequel, Bumper shifts the focus from the competitive world of acapella music to Germany. With companions pitch perfect 2 Alum Flula Borg reprises his role as Pieter Kramer, Bumper in Berlin is everything that makes up the series title and not much more. While there are some harmless laughs and funny musical moments, this series misses the point as to why people have connected so deeply with the feature films by following a character who isn't that interesting.
While I consider myself a fan of Adam Devine going all the way back workaholic and more recently the righteous gems, Bumper's character was mostly annoying Pitch perfect rather than lovable. While Rebel Wilson's Fat Amy was a breakthrough in the film series, her relationship with Bumper always felt tacked. Now that all the main actors are absent from the films, Bumper in Berlin feels like a challenge for Universal to keep their franchise IP alive. The relocation to Berlin is similar pitch perfect 2 on the way to the World A Capella Finals in Copenhagen, but with the extended running time of a series format we have plenty of time to poke fun at German culture and stereotypes about the country.
The half-hour episodes make it a bit easier to slog through the series, which feels more like an extended film than a TV show. In the first few episodes, Bumper makes his transition from the Tonehangers to a solo career in Germany that also introduces the supporting cast. Sarah Hyland plays aspiring singer and Pieter's assistant, Heidi, in a refreshingly candid performance that's very different from her cons modern family Character. Lera Abova is also fun as Pieter's sister Tea (aka DJ Das Boot), a musician and producer who helps Bumper find a track for the big Unity Day concert. At this concert, Bumper will face off against Pieter's former girlfriend and bandmate Gisela. Played by Jameela Jamil, Gisela is similar to her recent substitution She Hulk. Jamil has the looks of a supermodel but the comedic timing of the best out there. She's a solid antagonist to Bumper, Pieter, Tea, and Heidi.
throughout the series, Bumper in Berlin corresponds to the basic formula of Pitch perfect by a group of singers literally banding together and learning how to perform as a unit. While Anna Kendrick's Beca was a reluctant performer who learned to coexist with other personalities, Adam Devine's Bumper is a delusional git who clings to his college days. Devine often plays very similar characters, and here Bumper is very similar to Kelvin Gemstone: both are self-absorbed and think much higher of themselves than they are entitled to. The biggest difference is that Bumper grows more loveable as the series progresses, which is often undermined by putting his foot in his own mouth countless times. It helps that the supporting cast balance each other out, especially Sarah Hyland. Hyland and Devine played love interests across twenty-two episodes of modern family and the chemistry they shared flows into those performances as well.
Based on a story by Elizabeth Banks and Megan Amram, this series was developed by Amram (The good place) along with a writing team that digs up as many German jokes as possible. We still get tons of a cappella puns and tons of references to various songs, retro and contemporary. The first episodes of the series are directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson, best known as a director A very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas as well as the excellent The Final Girls. Strauss-Schulson makes the most of the flimsy material that never looks like a low-budget television production. The series is at its best when it delivers musical performances that Devine gives her all for. There are some solid mashups and original songs, but it ultimately feels like a lost season joy with slightly better jokes.
With just under three hours for the entire season Bumper in Berlin isn't a massive watch commitment and will elicit some light laughs between catchy musical segments and culminate with a feel-good factor that could potentially continue with a second season if the ratings are good enough. Personally, I would have liked this to be a little more connected to that Pitch perfect Franchise or distance itself from it entirely because it feels like it's capitalizing on the franchise name without really being able to be its own thing. The jokes are funny but could have been funnier if it weren't for brand protection reasons. As it is, there is nothing wrong with it Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlinit's just not as catchy as it thinks it is.
Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin premieres November 23 on Peacock.
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