I have to admit, I am a sucker for movies with singing and dancing. And when there’s competition involved, even better! When I saw the trailer for Pitch Perfect, my first thought was it looked like “Bring It On” but for a capella groups. My second thought was, “Where do I line up?”
Sure, such movies are usually trite and predictable. But who cares? There’s singing and dancing! I don’t care that I’m expected to buy 27 year old Anna Kendrick as a rebellious, aspiring DJ named Beca, starting her freshman year at Barden College. She and Bella just graduated from high school in the Twilight series, so, sure, why not? Bribed by her dad with a promise to help her move to L.A. if she gave college a chance for one year, Becca considers what Barden has to offer. Unfortunately for her, the college’s “D.J. Club” is more about Semitic sign language than mixing beats.
Enter The Bellas, the college’s recently disgraced female a capella group lead by Aubrey (Anna Camp) and Chloe (Brittany Snow). Because of the uptight Aubrey’s shocking performance at a recent competition, they need to rebuild a group that can sing in saccharine-sweet, vanilla harmony. The pickings are slim (mostly) and what comes together is a motley crew of questionable talent. There’s Fat Amy played hilariously by Rebel Wilson, who can mermaid dance like no other. (Mainly because who else would?) There’s sexy Stacie (Alexis Knapp) who may be more comfortable with a stripper pole than singing soprano, and butch Cynthia who can’t keep her eyes of Stacie. Also in the group is Lilly (Hanna Mae Lee) who is borderline mute. So it’s no wonder Chloe aggressively recruits Beca whom she ambushes in the shower after overhearing Beca singing David Guetta’s “Titanium”.
The Bellas arch rivals are the Treble Makers and of course, Beca’s love interest in the movie is Treble Maker, Jesse (Skylar Astin) who somehow gets cuter with every scene. But he’s got to work pretty hard to impress Beca who’s more interested in her headphones than listening to Jesse wax on about the “Breakfast Club” which he believes has the best movie ending ever. Personally, I was a little disconcerted by the fact that college-age kids spoke of “Breakfast Club” with a reverance usually reserved for classics like Casablanca. Even my guest leaned over and said, “But that’s so before their time.” Then I realized, to kids who weren’t even alive when Breakfast Club was made, it would be a classic.
But Jesse’s pursuit of her isn’t Beca’s only problem. The songs Aubrey is dead set on the Bellas perfecting are yawn-worthy at best, which was grating on the music mixologist. The Bellas simply can’t win against the Treble Makers with tired arrangements of Ace of Base, Bangles and Gloria Estefan songs. But Aubrey is resistant to Beca’s attempts to bring the Bellas into the current decade. Therein lies the movie’s requisite conflicts.
Pitch Perfect in a word is fun. Simply fun. There were plenty of laughs, mainly thanks to Rebel Wilson’s scene-stealing lines and some outrageous repartee between competition commentators played by Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins. The highlights, of course, were the singing performances. All of the actors have great pipes and the harmonies will please any choir geek who attends. But lest you think it’s only a teen flick, in an audience of mixed generations, the loudest laughter was from the older audience.
4 out of 5 stars