If you’re looking for an entertaining comedy this weekend with some good music and solid laughs, I strongly recommend Pitch Perfect. It’s not an unpredictable movie — if you’ve seen the trailer, shown below, then you’ve likely guessed that it’s Glee meets Mean Girls meets Bring It On with that funny girl from Bridesmaids (Rebel Wilson, playing “Fat Amy”).
However, it’s well-done, and I took great enjoyment in solid laughs from talented women. Anna Kendrick (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) stars as Beca, an aspiring music producer and remixer who’s not sure about going to college.
Once there, she falls in with the a cappella Bellas, the first all-female group to make the finals. Their competition appearance was disastrous, though, leaving the group a shell of its former self. The two leaders, Anna Camp (The Help) and Brittany Snow (American Dreams, Hairspray), are trying to reassemble a team who can again make it to finals.
The mismatched women face off against another team on campus, the Treblemakers, show-off boys. One of them is Skylar Astin, playing a guy who wants to score movies — everyone has a weirdly modern creative job goal in this film. As you might expect, the girls learn to respect their differences and play off their combined strengths to succeed while Beca gets both career achievement and romantic success. I don’t think these are spoilers so much as recognition that the movie plays to a formula and does it well, with plenty of fresh attitude and energy. Along the way comes some really good lines, toe-tapping mashups of popular tunes on an impressive soundtrack, and skilled performances. I was laughing from the opening music, an a cappella vocal redo of the classic Universal theme.
Also hilarious are the two competition hosts, Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins, saying wildly inappropriate things. About the only thing I didn’t like about the movie was its reliance in a few key scenes on vomit jokes. I did like its inspirational film choice, even if the totem is 30 years old and I wasn’t sure kids would still care about it.
To get more serious for a bit, it’s rare to see a girl’s career dreams taken so seriously as to be the centerpiece of a film this way, especially when her target job is so unusual as being a DJ. That was refreshing, although it serves as a counterpoint for the way the Bellas give up their tradition of only performing songs by women in order to be more competitive, an unfortunate trade-off.
I’m already looking forward to getting Pitch Perfect on DVD whenever it’s out. Let’s let them sing us out: