At first glance, it might seem like a “Glee” knock-off, but “Pitch Perfect” has its own voice and that voice is really, really funny. The humor in this is more akin to the top notch laughs brought on by films like “Bridesmaids.” The soundtrack is phenomenal – it covers everything from Miley Cyrus to Ace of Base to Simple Minds. While many of the laughs are aggrandized satire, there’s also a sweet and genuine story about friends and romance. Some of the best parts are themed around the end scene of “The Breakfast Club” — which makes this film a whole new level of awesome.
“Pitch Perfect” is about a college freshman, Beca (Anna Kendrick), who grudgingly joins an all girl a capella group, The Bellas, to appease her father. Beca loves music, but is a bit too edgy and alternative for the bubbly, cookie cutter girls leading the group (Brittany Snow as Chloe and Anna Camp as Aubrey). But Beca’s not the only misfit in the group and as the year goes on, these girls form an unusual friendship and an even more unusual (but spectacular) music group.
Kay Cannon’s screenplay is hilarious; the entire theater at the screening was literally laughing non-stop. There’s some especially fantastically dry banter from the acapella contest announcers (Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins). And almost every line in this film is worthy of quoting, but Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy had some of the best quips. Wilson’s cocky delivery of some of the more ridiculous lines just worked. There were also a lot of jokes that the film spent a long time investing in just to deliver the punchline in the finale like the ongoing gag of mumbling, psychopath Lilly (Hana Mae Lee), the deal with “Fat Amy” and her name, or the magic tricks of Benji (Ben Platt).
All the characters are subjected to drama, but Benji’s was the most heartwrenching as the lone misfit deemed not cool enough to join the already rag tag a capella groups. When his character finally was treated right, the audience in my screening cheered. It says a lot about the quality of a film like this that amid all the jokes, there’s still time to become invested in even minor characters.
Of course, the hilarity of the film and the charming plotlines still wouldn’t matter if the songs weren’t also good – and I can assure you that they are. Oh, and for the curious, this isn’t like in “Glee” when magically a group of string players appear backstage or the singers bust into song walking down a school hallway. The songs here are presented as actual a capella numbers being performed for a real event. The songs are great picks and the soundtrack is a must download. For those curious, yes, Anna Kendrick does sing (well!) and even more impressively, she does rap (gangsta style!). One of my favorite scenes was this ridiculous, but fun, ‘riff off.’ It’s set up like those breakdance competitions where the different gangs meet up in alley and bust moves at each other, but this is done with singing.
As a warning, this movie does have some cringeworthy moments; moments covered in vomit…far too much vomit. I had to avert my eyes, but this gruesomeness is worth stomaching to experience the hilarious “Pitch Perfect.”
P.S. Stick around during the credits for an extra scene!
Pitch Perfect Movie Soundtrack
1. Don’t Stop the Music – The Treblemakers
2. Let It Whip – The Treblemakers
3. Since U Been Gone – Ester Dean and Skyler Astin
4. Cups – Anna Kendrick
5. Riff-Off – The Barden Bellas, The Treblemakers and The BU Harmonics
Ladies of the 80s – (includes Mickey, Like A Virgin, Hit Me With Your Best Shot)
Songs About Sex – (includes S&M, Let’s Talk About Sex, I’ll Make Love To You, Feels Like the First Time, No Diggity)
6.Bellas Regionals – The Barden Bellas
(includes The Sign, Eternal Flame, Turn the Beat Around)
7. Right Around – The Barden Bellas (feat. My Name Is Kay)
8. Pool Mashup – The Barden Bellas
(includes Just the Way You Are (Amazing), Just A Dream)
9. Party in the U.S.A. – The Barden Bellas
10. Trebles Finals – The Treblemakers
(includes Bright Lights Bigger City, Magic)
11. Bellas Finals – The Barden Bellas
(includes Price Tag, Don’t You (Forget About Me), Give Me Everything, Just the Way You Are, Party in the U.S.A.,Turn the Beat Around)
12. Toner (Instrumental Suite) – Christophe Beck and Mark Kilian