Dueling college a cappella groups in Pitch Perfect | Film Review | Indy Week
Pin It

Dueling college a cappella groups in Pitch Perfect 

Belting it out "Pitch Perfect"

Photo by Peter Iovino

Belting it out "Pitch Perfect"

Since I haven't seen one episode of Glee, I don't know how much the new a cappella movie Pitch Perfect toys with the expectations of those who are familiar with that love-it-or-hate-it show.

Set in one of those movie college campuses where the arts are more important than sports, Pitch Perfect has Anna Kendrick as Beca, an incoming freshman and aspiring music producer (we know this because she spends most of her time making mash-ups on her computer) who reluctantly gets roped into joining the university's fledgling female a cappella team, the Barden Bellas. Led by authoritative blonde Aubrey (Anna Camp) and supportive redhead Chloe (Brittany Snow), they're trying to rebuild the team after an unfortunate, YouTube-worthy performance where a stressed-out Aubrey lost her lunch during their rendition of Ace of Base's "The Sign."

In classic movie-underdog fashion, they corral of ragtag team of gals, a collection of the usual quirky types that includes a boobalicious nympho (Alexis Knapp), a black girl who may be a lesbian (hit songwriter Ester Dean) and a weird Asian who talks really low (Hana Mae Lee). They also recruit an outspoken fat girl (Rebel Wilson), who refers to herself as "Fat Amy" just so she can beat all those skinny bitches to the punch.

As they attempt to become a cohesive singing/ dancing unit, tensions immediately flare up between Aubrey and Beca, who thinks it would be a good idea to perform songs from this century. Aubrey also doesn't like Beca getting all flirty with fellow aspiring music maker Jesse (Skylar Astin), who's the newest member of the Treblemakers, the Bellas' rivals on campus.

Loosely adapted from Mickey Rapkin's book of the same name, Pitch Perfect does sound like Bring It On with high notes. But it also wants to be this year's Bridesmaids. Just like that movie, it has bodily fluid-drenched, gross-out humor and a rivalry between the scrappy heroine (it's almost like Kendrick is letting Tina Fey know through her performance she's available to play her younger sister in anything) and her control freak antagonist. Even Bridesmaids cast member Wilson, who serves as this movie's Melissa McCarthy, wins over audiences with her uproarious candidness and refreshing confidence.

With Broadway musical director Jason Moore (Avenue Q, Shrek the Musical) behind the lens, Pitch Perfect is full of annoyingly chipper musical numbers that I'd hate if it weren't for the fact that they're so damn rousing. (Pitch Perfect is probably going to be the only movie in existence that actually makes you believe someone like Kendrick knows all the words to Blackstreet's "No Diggity.") But thanks to a playful script from 30 Rock writer Kay Cannon, Pitch Perfect exhibits a spirited, enjoyable self-awareness that refuses to be overtaken by heavy-handedness, something that I hear Glee revels in.

There are times when I felt there were scenes cut out that might explain some characters and their motives, like why Camp's character sings the same damn songs while every team around the Bellas live to be fresh and new (Elizabeth Banks and Christopher Guest regular John Michael Higgins, appearing as competition commentators à la Best in Show, hilariously remind us of this). But considering how much fun this Pitch Perfect has just by being, well, fun, the flaws are forgivable. The movie almost makes me consider watching an episode of Glee—almost.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Sing it on."

Film Details

Pitch Perfect
Rated PG-13 · 112 min. · 2012
Official Site: www.pitchperfectmovie.com
Director: Jason Moore
Writer: Kay Cannon
Producer: Elizabeth Banks, Paul Brooks and Max Handelman
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Alexis Knapp, Adam DeVine, Freddie Stroma, Skylar Astin and Jacob Wysocki

Now Playing

Pitch Perfect is not showing in any theaters in the area.

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Film Review



Twitter Activity

Comments

My wife is super hyped up over this movie. We're going to see it saturday. Having married a Korean american, …

by Timothy Oswald on On the Upside, Crazy Rich Asians Is a Genuine Cultural Milestone. On the Downside, It's ... Not That Good? (Film Review)

I love this film, and we just did a podcast about it! We explore age-related cognitive impairment, alcoholism, rural midwestern …

by Scott Wickman on Nebraska is maddeningly dead-on (Film Review)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

My wife is super hyped up over this movie. We're going to see it saturday. Having married a Korean american, …

by Timothy Oswald on On the Upside, Crazy Rich Asians Is a Genuine Cultural Milestone. On the Downside, It's ... Not That Good? (Film Review)

I love this film, and we just did a podcast about it! We explore age-related cognitive impairment, alcoholism, rural midwestern …

by Scott Wickman on Nebraska is maddeningly dead-on (Film Review)

Good movie. That showed a career service member can be sold out by BS politicians

by Darin Thigpen Sr on Only military guys can understand (Film Review)

It is a very good film.I really liked it.The film is visual treat to the audience.Suraj Sharma nailed the role …

by Fermin Johnson on Life of Pi is a touching fable (Film Review)

Much as I hate to be that guy, I must nonetheless point out a minor error in your review. The …

by Just Another Malcontent on Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs Is an Alternately Respectful and Baffling Parable About Japan (Film Review)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation