Confession: I have watched Pitch Perfect at least five times now and all within the past couple of weeks. It’s like I just can’t stop. I saved it on my DVR and have been watching it in pieces ever since my first full viewing more than two weeks ago. It’s gotten to where I fast-forward through the non-singing parts, repeatedly watching the song performances, especially the final two. I never watched Glee, not for any particular reason, so I am unable to make the obvious comparison there. But I do generally like musicals and Pitch Perfect manages to combine some really excellent musical numbers with a plot as aloof and relatable as that of Bring It On. Just as any non-cheerleader could enjoy the shenanigans of Bring It On, you need not be an a capella enthusiast to enjoy Pitch Perfect. It’s a sweet, feel-good flick with likeable characters and some really fun music.
The Sing-Off got me into a capella (well, not counting those years in junior high when I adored Boyz II Men) and generally primed audiences across America for this movie. It centers around Beca, played with irresistible charm by Anna Kendrick, a college freshman who has no actual desire to attend college but is giving it a shot to appease her father. She wants to move to LA to start paying her dues in the music industry, hoping to make a career out of DJ-ing. With much coaxing by her dad and a senior named Chloe (the adorable Brittany Snow), she reluctantly auditions for the Bardon Bellas, an all-female a capella group on campus who have an intense rivalry with the all-male group, the Treblemakers. Beca earns a spot with the Bellas and slowly brings new life to their stale routine.
While Kendrick is undoubtedly the star of this flick, it is very much an ensemble movie. Senior and leader of the Bellas, Aubrey Posen (Anna Camp), Chloe and Beca probably get the most lines but supporting characters Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson stealing the majority of her scenes), Cynthia Rose (Ester Dean) and Lilly (Hana Mae Lee) hit every mark… and note. (Sorry – couldn’t resist.) The boys make the most of their screen time as well, especially Beca’s love interest, Jesse (Skylar Astin), his nerdy roommate Benji (Ben Platt), and two of the Treblemakers, Bumper and Donald, played by Adam DeVine (of the hilarious series Workaholics) and Utkarsh Ambudkar, respectively. There’s competition, friendship, romance and loads of music but there is also an abundance of humor. Pitch Perfect never takes itself too seriously. In fact, it gets rather silly at times. The vast majority of jokes land and there’s even a big throwback to a certain ’80s icon of pop culture that warms the cockles of my heart.
Of course, as I’ve already hinted, the music itself is what drives it home. The lulls between songs are relatively short and each performance not only plays a relevant role in the central plot but adds a guilty pleasure level of enjoyment, leading viewers like me to watch repeatedly, never tiring of the actors’ unprocessed and natural voices or the fun, practiced choreography. There are even a few cameos the likes of Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins and Donald Faison. That’s right – Turk makes an appearance and anything that lets me watch Turk sing and dance is okay by me.
There isn’t anything terribly original or unpredictable about Pitch Perfect but every minute is amusing, there are loads of laughs and at least 30 solid minutes of fun musical performances. Need more? 30 Rock writer Kay Cannon wrote it. I knew that would hook you.