Film Review – Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect (M)

Directed by: Jason Moore

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson

Three and a half stars

Review by: Julian Wright

Cast your mind back to when you saw last year’s surprise oestrogen fueled hit Bridesmaids. One of the things that made it a hit was the exceptional ensemble cast. Saturday Night Live regulars Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph scored big laughs and Rose Byrne showed us that her comic timing in Get Him To the Greek was not a one-off, but it was a brash Melissa McCarthy that stole the show. But her biggest competition was the unknown Rebel Wilson as the room-mate from hell with only five minutes of screen time. She made such an impact that she threatened to steal the limelight from the main players with her dopey and disgusting behaviour.

Folks, Wilson has done it again. She is the one that shines in a cast if several of her peers. While this time she is given a larger role in a film that has a lesser script, she has cemented herself as a comedic talent to keep an eye on. The female ensemble Pitch Perfect – which takes marketing cues from Bridesmaids (just compare the posters) is a poor imitation of its predecessor but if the words “Bring It On meets Sister Act” gets you excited, then you are in for an a capella treat with this one.

After losing the majority of their crew from the embarrassment of a competition mishap, the two remaining members of a capella group The Bellas, Aubrey (Anna Camp) and Chloe (Brittany Snow) are on the hunt for some fresh faces and voices. Enter introvert Beca (Anna Kendrick) a wannabe DJ with a chip on her shoulder. She signs up after her Dad tells her he wont financially support her if she doesn’t get into the college spirit and make some friends.

Along with a new rag-tag team of singers, including rough around the edges Fat Amy (scene hijacker Rebel Wilson), the group go about getting back into the competition circuit, only with dull, outdated music that Aubrey refuses to change. With a keen ear for hip tunes and how to mix them, Beca is eager to inject some freshness into the group and competition, but Aubrey wont back down. Meanwhile, the group takes a pounding in each competition and ridicule from their peers.

This easy, breezy, appealing chick flick serves up some great moments, but falls a little short of being a completely satisfying experience. While the cast is a watchable bunch, Wilson gets to punctuate every scene she is in with her zingers and her self-deprecating humour is a winning ingredient. Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins deliver some comedic gold as the competition commentators. Oscar nominee Kendrick seems to be slumming it in the “straight” role.

There are some fun musical numbers that overshadow expired gags (in our increasingly accepting society, the ongoing is-she-or-isn’t-she a lesbian joke feels way outdated), overused gags (self consciously hip dialogue that tacks “aca” to the front of almost every word grates on the nerves) and plot lulls (of course there is a gooey love story). And there is even some gross out stuff for good measure. It is the kind of fluff that probably would not have been made if TV’s Glee wasn’t so popular, but it is an enjoyable diversion.

Pitch Perfect opens in Australian cinemas on December 6.

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