Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pitch Perfect: Movie Review


Romance to cheer for, low-grade comedy, but musical numbers both predictable and perfect.

“Pitch Perfect” is kind of like taking “Glee” and putting it into a college environment, but is more like mixing the popularity of “Bridesmaids”-styled humour and the popularity of a cappella singing. The Barden Bellas are a struggling all-girl singing group trying to succeed with old-school female pop songs and bikini bodies, but after an on-stage meltdown, the team is left with two high-strung seniors and is forced to rebuild. 2012

Directed by: Jason Moore

Screenplay by: Kay Cannon
Based on the novel by Mickey Rapkin

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, and Rebel Wilson

Beca (Anna Kendrick) is an aspiring DJ with no interest in campus life, but after a deal made with her father (a small but good role by John Benjamin Hickey), Beca considers joining the Bellas. Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), who calls herself Fat Amy so twig bitches like the Bella leaders don’t call her that behind her back, is not what Aubrey (Anna Camp) and Chloe (Brittany Snow) have in mind to rebuild the group, but she can match pitch perfectly.

What makes “Pitch Perfect” a good movie is the supporting characters. Fat Amy is a fully-realized character where everything she does and everything she says matches what we have come to know about her. Stacie (Alexis Knapp) and Cynthia Rose (Ester Dean) have even less screen time, but are almost just as complete of characters. Amy, in particular, is hilarious and provides all of the humour in the movie.

The lead characters aren’t nearly as well thought-out. Aubrey is a screeching, high-maintenance control freak, one-dimensionally so, and her few moments of humour are very low quality and very poorly realized (her aforementioned on-stage meltdown is almost laughably bad it’s so poorly edited). Chloe, unfortunately, has a very simplistic role as Aubrey’s only sidekick who also shares Beca’s vision. Snow is a better actress than that.

As the Bellas are trying to find their groove as the competition regionals and finals approach, Beca has met a boy who belongs to their all-male rivals. Jesse (Skylar Astin) is cute and extremely likable (an actually very impressive feat considering he got in over his quirky but cute roommate). Jesse aspires to create movie scores (yet another excellent character trait), and through his friendship with Beca, hopes to introduce her to some of the classics. All movies, as Beca complains, are predictable. You know that the boy is going to get the girl and you know what is going to happen before it happens. Jesse says that doesn’t matter because the perfect music can still move you to tears. His prime example is “The Breakfast Club”.

Of course “Pitch Perfect” is predictable, and while that might drag during some of their early competition performances, the predictability works for the type of movie it is. Sometimes the comedic dialogue went too far for a joke, other times the humour was just a cheap gag, but overall it was still funny. With better, more original comedy it could have been a very good movie. Beca and Jesse made a great on-screen couple and had the audience cheering them on. In fact, “Pitch Perfect” works very well as a romantic comedy with a non-romantic primary storyline.