Pitch Perfect hits the right notes
Claire Stephens | Tuesday, September 25, 2012
In a refreshing change from corny musicals that pervade the genre, “Pitch Perfect” is a college version of “Glee,” without all the singing about feelings and ridiculous drama.
“Pitch Perfect” follows Becca (Anna Kendrick), an aspiring DJ whose father insists she go to college where he works. In a quintessential liberal arts college, the sarcastic Becca tries to survive all of the outrageous college clichÃ©s around her. Most specifically, the extremely feminine a capella group she joins – The Bellas.
Instead of the beaten-to-death high school stereotypes of nerd, jock and artsy kid, the a capella crowd includes college stereotypes like promiscuous girl, Star Wars geekcontrolling perfectionist, obnoxious jerk, lovable guy and the grounded, normal protagonist with a unique quirk or talent that makes her special.
Considering the movie poster is nearly an exact copy of the one from “Bridesmaids,” it’s not unexpected that the film’s humor is a PG-13 version of it. The entire movie is as funny as the trailer implies, keeping the audience laughing at its mildly shocking humor throughout. From the cast of “Bridesmaids” Australian actress Rebel Wilson plays Fat Amy and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, McLovin from “Superbad” has a brief cameo.
As a comedy, “Pitch Perfect” definitely works. The verbal wit is present in both the dialogue and surprisingly funny musical puns scattered throughout the movie. For a musical it has an unexpected amount of irreverent humor, though it is still a much milder form of the R-rated shock value comedies of today (but brace yourself for some physical humor involving vomit).
As a musical, it manages to incorporate a lot of songs and some dance numbers without being annoying or having songs serve as a poorly veiled attempts to parallel the plot of the movie. All of the songs are motivated by the characters actually performing and don’t run too long. Most are either good because of the quality of singing or funny because of how bad they are; what singing movie can leave out the auditions montage of terrible or weird singers?
Unlike most musicals, the movie includes rap, hip-hop and dubstep numbers and remixes that are actually good, including “Titanium” and “No Diggity,” as well as recent pop hits done completely vocally that manage to avoid sounding as cookie-cutter and white-bread as “Glee.”
When looked at closely, the time spent on musical numbers is probably the cause for some of the underdeveloped subplots: Becca’s relationship with her divorced father, the station manager who always hits on her, the jerk leader of the rival group that never seems to get his just desserts and the chemistry between Becca and a member of the rival group. Though the plot moves well enough and has these different layers along with the main plot about the a capella group, many of them seem like they were set up to be more but never finished.
However, the plot isn’t too predictable to make watching it boring. The music is fun, and the movie itself is pretty funny from beginning to end. You’ll leave the theater happy and humming.
Directed by: Jason Moore
Produced by: Elizabeth Banks
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Rebel Wilson
3 ½ Shamrocks of 5