Title: Pitch Perfect
Director: Jason Moore
Rated PG-13 and opens wide on October 5th.
This story about rival a capella (singing without instruments) factions at college, based on the book written by Mickey Rapkin, actually finds a way to please a wide-range of audiences.
Fans of GLEE will dig it. People who liked the raunchy female humor found in Bridesmaids – though toned down, along with the style of say, Mean Girls will be able to get into this. And admirers of coming-of-age flicks set in college can relate as well. Just like the title suggest, these 110 minutes are Pitch Perfect (mostly).
One of the aforementioned rival singing groups is comprised of all girls; which is a rarity in the national competition as noted by cameo play-by-play announcers Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins. These two are channeling their inner Bob Uecker from the Major League movies and are knocking it out of the park. And their contribution symbolizes why this unfairly pigeon-holed theatre major product works outside the niche market: It’s ripping on itself the entire time. Not only are Banks and Higgins doing it, but the entire ensemble cast takes shots at what they’re enacting within the story.
Led by Anna Kendrick – an alternative loner chick, who just wants to create DJ beats – ends up joining a traditional a capella group known as the Bellas. At first, she despises it, but her vocal talent is undeniable, and she begins to find ways to incorporate her music arranging vision into the non-instrumental art form.
Of course, there’s a love interest (Skylar Astin) who resides in the other on campus A capella group known as the Treble Makers. And naturally, Kendrick has to deal with the controlling seniors within her own established clique in Anna Camp and Brittany Snow. But with Camp having a gross little miscue on stage last year, that tarnished the Bellas’ reputation, they must replenish their numbers; and that means “lowering” their standards. So whoever wants to join in is basically welcomed aboard to ensure they have enough members to compete on the national stage. Enter in, Rebel Wilson.
What could have been too cookie-cutter ends ups inching towards the gutter thanks to Wilson’s spot-on comedic timing. Wilson, along with Kendrick’s sharp and blunt persona, turns this into an edgy comedy that finds a nice balance to please a wider-range of spectators. From innuendos and visual sequences that would be considered college level humor, to just wholesome moments that are relatable to audiences, this never flinches in what it wants to be. And that is, different from the predictable sitcom-like scripts that alienate outsiders or people who just don’t understand the attraction to the respective subject matter.
Granted, it’s not a government secret how this will turn out, but the journey there cranks out some bold riffs that veer from the proper and/or straightforwardness this could have easily went. In fact, for those that remember the tone of Road Trip, minus the R-rated scenes, it is delivered very similar to that college movie product.
Oh, and just because yours truly caught this, a few minor continuity mishaps are evident in the mechanics (Exhibit A: Anna Camp’s hair is in a pony-tail in one shot, and then cutting back, it is all down. Exhibit B: Hallway/dorm scene. Anna Kendrick is walking out of a room but none of the “hallway” extras move on-time and are all standing still. Awkward.) – Yeah, I’m showing off right now.
Overall, Pitch Perfect makes you (or me) want to go back in time and actually attend those theatre major parties that were possibly ignored during college. While it could have edited out one or two vocal performances to avoid dragging in a couple spots, the acting of Kendrick and her wisely used female supporting players makes one appreciate the filmmakers’ efforts in trying to separate itself from the genre pack/norm.