Anna Kendrick is edgy and a bit different from everyone around her. She’s the lead character, a student named Beca, in Pitch Perfect and viewers can sketch out her personality very quickly thanks to some major clues. She listens to music a lot through headphones, she has black hair, more earrings in place than necessary, doesn’t smile all that much and also has some tattoos. Oh yeah, she’s a right piece of work. So it’s inevitable that it will be a problem for her to adjust when she’s persuaded to join the Barden Bellas, the all-girl a capella group on campus. The Barden Bellas are desperate for revenge against the all-male a capella group on campus called The Treble Makers after they suffered a humiliating defeat the previous year at the main event of the a capella calendar.
I don’t know what’s more surprising, the fact that I really, really enjoyed Pitch Perfect or the fact that it’s based on a book. Considering the importance of the different types of music throughout, it’s hard to imagine how that would come across in the written form. Mickey Rapkin wrote the original story but Kay Cannon adapts it for the screen and does a great job. Jason Moore also deserves praise for doing such a decent job on his feature debut. Okay, so he may have a fair bit of TV work already under his belt and this is nothing more than a film-by-numbers, in many ways, but he still makes it work well.
It’s not as sharp or funny as something like Mean Girls, for example, but it’s surprisingly close to that kind of teen comedy. With added a capella songs.
Anna Kendrick is someone that I like more and more with every movie she does. This isn’t her best role but she’s more than up to the task. Skylar Astin is easy to like as a boy who falls for Beca but also ends up singing for the opposition and Adam DeVine is easy to hate as the smug Bumper, leading man of The Treble Makers. Brittany Snow and Anna Camp are both very good in their roles, the former willing to adapt a bit more to ensure that the group can do better while the latter is stuck in the ways that she thinks will prove ultimately rewarding. Then we get great supporting turns from Rebel Wilson (scene stealer), Ben Platt, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins and Utkarsh Ambudkar (another scene stealer).
Everyone seems to be having fun with the material and that makes all of the cliches and predictability a hell of a lot easier to swallow. Of course, the soundtrack is also lively and interesting with the a capella at the fore but some DJ/remix work and beatboxing also add to the aural pleasure. I didn’t watch the entire movie without rolling my eyes once or twice but I also didn’t stop smiling for most of the runtime, which is what it sets out to make you do. It may not have its own voice but (oh yes, I’m going to say it) it hits all of the right notes.
DIRECTOR: JASON MOORE
WRITER: KAY CANNON (BASED ON THE BOOK BY MICKEY RAPKIN)
STARS: ANNA KENDRICK, SKYLAR ASTIN, ADAM DEVINE, BEN PLATT, BRITTANY SNOW, ANNA CAMP, REBEL WILSON, ALEXIS KNAPP, ESTER DEAN, HANA MAE LEE, ELIZABETH BANKS, JOHN MICHAEL HIGGINS, CHRISTOPHER MINTZ-PLASSE
RUNTIME: 112 MINS APPROX