Synopsis: Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school’s all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition.
Musical theatre has never been something that I have gotten along with. The idea of exposition through the medium of song just grated me. It was one step to far into the cheesy abyss. Never have I been so rankled by AMPAS than when Chicago walked away with the Best Picture in 2003 ahead of The Two Towers. Until recently there were only two exceptions to that rule; The South Park Movie and Team America which contained between them some of the greatest songs known to man.
While nowhere near the comedy/musical stratosphere of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s efforts, Pitch Perfect is certainly in a small and exclusive club of musical films I genuinely enjoyed. Much of that has to do with the injection of some Bridesmaid style humour into the Glee, tween friendly format. The story is about as clichéd as you could imagine with the group of misfit college girls brought together in an effort to win an elusive acapella competition. Throw in a little love interest and some Mean Girls hierarchical bitchiness and there is very little new here. What raises Pitch Perfect above the rest is Anna Kendrick’s central performance as the almost-too-cool-for-school DJ with the voice of an angel Becca, and Rebel Wilson’s deadpan Fat Amy.
The smart thing is that because the story is set within the world of competitive singing the musical numbers never feel out of place, unlike something like Momma Mia where your sense of disbelief needs suspending to the point of breaking. Whilst directed by Jason Moore (some TV work and Shrek: The Musical) the film is really the love child of Elizabeth Banks who has a producer credit as well as a consistently funny recurring role throughout the film as a competition commentator along with Christopher Guest alumni John Michael Higgins.
Conclusion: Whilst narratively nothing special, and with absolutely no surprises, Pitch Perfect manages to remain entertaining throughout with some genuinely catchy numbers and zingy one liners.
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Rebel Wilson