[Review] Pitch Perfect
I’ve never watched a single episode of Glee and never cared to. I have, however, watched the NBC’s The Sing Off when it aired and enjoyed the a capella stylings to popular songs. With that being said, I figured that Jason Moore’s Pitch Perfect was going to be a corny dud of a film that would simply be looking to capitalize on the popularity of Glee.
I was wrong.
Based on the non-fiction novel by Mickey Rapkin with the same name, Pitch Perfect is a comedic look into the rich world of collegiate a capella singing. Set on the fictional campus of Barden U, a capella sing offs are the holy grail. All-male group, the affectionately named Treblemakers, are the kings of the castle as they have taken the top prize at the regional competition and are in no danger of being threatened by the all-female snooze group, the Barden Bellas. After the previous year’s competition left a bad taste in the mouth of lead singer Aubrey (Anna Camp), the Bellas realize that their prissy ho-hum act needs a little bit of a shake up. This comes in the form of recruiting a bunch of ragtag females that include the mash up queen producer/DJ Beca (Anna Kendrick) and a host of young ladies that certainly don’t fit the previous Bella mold. The results are off key initially but the group soon finds its unique footing to become a threat, as long as the uppity Aubrey can bear to stray from the norm of tradition.
The film balances irresistibly charming and borderline corny extremely well as its offbeat comedy, led by Rebel Wilson’s Fat Amy and some colorful characters, helps keep this movie from the Bring It On bin it was initially destined to be heading. If it wasn’t for Wilson – whose comedic turn in Bridesmaids was a revelation – it would be hard to digest this movie as a comedy. But her delivery is spot on, her command is marvelous and the way she can be a charming douchebag is downright hilarious. It works well with Anna Kendrick’s Beca as she aims to be the usual snide outcast being brought in to save the group. Yes, it is cliché, but the coupling of Beca and Fat Amy works extraordinarily well inside the humor of Kay Cannon’s script and the direction of Avenue Q’s Jason Moore.
It’s this combination of off color and conventional that really steers Pitch Perfect. Whether it be the eyebrow raising damn-near-need-closed-caption whispers of Hana Mae Lee’s Lilly or the ultra horny overtures of Alexis Knapp’s Stacie, the comedy works hard to keep you from thinking about the rather cliché plot. You know, the one where the outcast joins a group to save them from failure only to fall for the guy on the rival squad (Skylar Astin’s Jesse is handled quite well with doofy charm) and find herself at odds with her super conservative team leader as everyone knows that some kind of radical change is the only way to win the competition. Throw in The Breakfast Club’s theme “Don’t You Forget About Me,” a revelation that compromise is a necessity to being successful and some fun performances and you have a movie done to death a thousand times over. Oh yeah, keep an eye out for Ben Platt’s Benji as his nerdiness is simply awesome and the inappropriate commentary tandem of John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks.
Despite it being a movie that you’ve seem and heard about a million times, the endless stream of snark and brutish comedy keeps Pitch Perfect just off key enough for anyone to enjoy.
And I still won’t be watching Glee anytime in the near future.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5