Unreal Movie Review: “Pitch Perfect”

This weekend was a tough battle at the box office. Between me and my fiancee. After dragging her to the uber-violent Dredd, I already owed her one and unfortunately it was hard to make a case for Taken 2. It would have been an easy sell, if it were not for the abominable reviews and friends who said it was a waste of two hours.

And so there we were, sitting in Pitch Perfect, the a capella movie. Acapella? I never know.

I’ve watched Glee because it was a pop culture phenomenon and anything people adore THAT much must have some redeeming qualities to it. And it did, initially, though it went from peppy and fun to overwrought and boring soon enough.

Pitch Perfect is obviously  meant to jump on the “a capella is cool train” which is currently rolling through the country. Are the Glee kids really cool in high schools now? I have a hard time believing that, even with this recent revolution.

Here however, the central singing groups are in college, where the practice is either more or less socially acceptable, it’s hard to figure out which. There are two main rival singing groups, the Treblemakers, the all-guy ensemble led by Bumper (Workaholics’ Adam DeVine) and the all-girl Bardem Bellas, co-chaired by Aubrey and Chloe (Anna Camp and Brittany Snow). After a disastrous performance at finals last year, the two girls have to replenish their roster of lovely ladies to compete once more.

Turns out they don’t have much to choose from. They have to accept all manner of misfits that don’t fit into the pageant girl-look they’re used to. There’s the probable ghetto lesbian, the really quiet asian girl, and the only hot girl with a massive rack can’t sing a lick. But they kept her anyway, much to the male viewing audience’s delight. There’s also Fat Amy, who calls herself that to avoid behind the back snickering. Actress Rebel Wilson continues the Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids trend of “fat girls being hilarious” and uses physical comedy and rather clever lines to her advantage.

Nearly all of these characters are more interesting than the lead, Beca, an alt girl who wants to be a DJ and rolls her eyes as her dad buys her a college education instead of letting her move to LA and “follow her dream.” When the only DJ club on campus turns out to be for Deaf Jews, she joins the Bellas, and spars with the existing leadership as she wants to reinvent their boring style with pop culture mashups, all of which involve David Guetta and Sia’s “Titanium.”

The movie starts out wobbly, but for what it is, it’s actually pretty damn good by the end. And no, I am not saying this with a gun held to my head by a fiancee who would give the film six out of five stars. It’s genuinely funny with Rebel Wilson and Adam DeVine leading the way, and the music is actually quite excellent, far better than anything I heard during my time with glee. The use of mashups instead of simple covers is a far more engaging way to give the audience things they haven’t heard before.

Some characters are way too one-dimensional, like Bellas leader Aubrey who inexplicably chooses the same song for every…single…performance year after year. Sure they want her to be anal retentive, but the idea is taken to absurd levels that cease to make logical sense.

In the end, it’s a catchy movie that will force you to enjoy it by the end. It’s  just performed too well and scripted too sweetly for it not to be able to warm hearts. And seeing as its more than tripled Taken 2’s Rotten Tomatoes score, I’m not alone in that belief.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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  1. Hmm, I hadn’t heard anyting bad about Taken 2, but dunno a lot of people that went to see it. I enjoyed it, actually more than I did the first one (which i had only just seen the wekend before taken 2’s release).

  2. I really don’t want to be that guy . . . But Rebel Wilson was in Bridesmaids. And she was pretty damn hilarious as Kristen Wiig’s mooching housemate.

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