PITCHING A TENT FOR PITCH PERFECT
I’m one of those people that really liked the first half of the first season of Glee, but now if you mention the show to me, I break out in hives that are partly due to stress from looking for the closest exit, partly due to the fact that I can’t believe Ryan Murphy is still allowed to create sub-par television programs (I’m looking at you, Anne Frank episodes of American Horror Story. Talk about goosestepping the shark…) and inevitably Pitch Perfect will be compared to Glee for several reasons – it’s quippy, camp, and there’s singing. Here’s the one major difference: Pitch Perfect is so much fun to watch that it’s one of those rare cookie-cutter Hollywood films I can’t wait to see again.
Based on the novel of the same name (I don’t… I don’t even know why you’d read a novel about singing competitions) Pitch Perfect stars Anna Kendrick as Beca, an alternative girl who has earrings and wears heavy eye-shadow and doesn’t even care what you think okay so stop trying to make her care you don’t even know her. Her father (she doesn’t even care what he thinks) is paying for her to go to Barden College, where he works as a professor, and urges her to get involved. Resisting all things Barden, Bcca just wants to make her mash-ups and produce music because she doesn’t even care about college or hot dudes at college. They make a deal – if Beca makes an effort and joins ONE on-campus group, her father will pay for her to move to Los Angeles to live her dream of working at a Starbucks while producing music in a two-bedroom, no-bathroom shack in the outskirts of LA (kids, this is reality. Don’t pursue your dreams. Become accountants).
It is at this point Beca joins the dark underworld of competitive college a capella. Barden College is host to several a capella groups, however Beca joins the Barden Belles, an all-girl group led by Aubrey – a future Stepford wife. Aubrey (Anna Camp) lives and breathes a capella, and her one goal is make it to the finals, and redeem herself for prior a cafailures, and finally dethrone the a capella king on campus, Bumper (Adam DeVine), leader of the Treble Makers. There’s also a subplot between Beca and Jesse (Skylar Astin SWOON ETC), where there’s romance but don’t act like Beca’s boyfriend unless she tells you it’s okay? OKAY? You don’t even know eye-shadow/earrings/more eye-shadow alternative.
Yes, the plot is nothing earth-shattering, but this film takes on what is essentially a very over-worked plot, and hilarity, charm and self-awareness that is nothing but fun to watch. The first 20 minutes are exposition heavy, but honestly I feel like they have to be in order to allow for the rest of the film to have fun and riff, if you will. Casting in this film is fantastic. Kendrick does what she can with what is ultimately a really rubbish character (FREE COLLEGE TUITION? A HOT MAN INTERESTED IN ME? WHY IS MY LIFE SO DIFFICULT!). But the supporting cast of the Barton Belles, especially the scene-stealing, and absolutely hilarious Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy, as well as Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins as two heinous competition commentators, take this film to a new level of funny.
To be completely honest, I’m in love with Rebel Wilson – so this review is terribly biased considering I laughed at every line of hers. Most of the supporting characters have a very formulated character – but it’s how the film continues to build their individual insanities, combining some great shock-lines and some seriously gross sequences, that provide a lot of the laughs. And then there’s Skylar Astin. A man with a voice like velvet and an unexplained scented candle in his backpack (not a weird euphemism). WHAT A DREAMBOAT. He also made the viewing experience enjoyable.
The music is great – and absolutely manipulates you into having at least three feelings throughout. It’s strange that Beca’s “alternate” tastes range from Dr Dre to that oh-so-alternative David Guetta (…) but they do some really great covers and mash-ups. It’s also great because the soundtrack is already available and I haven’t stopped listening to it since I left the cinema. I’m not even getting paid to say that! (If someone wants to pay me to say that, I’ll say it twice. I’m listening to the soundtrack now! Where’s my cheque?)
Completely predictable, not challenging in the slightest, and some of the best fun I’ve had in a really long time (AND I WAS SOBER) Pitch Perfect really hit all the right notes for me (HAHAHA WHAT AN ORIGINAL PUN NO ONE ELSE WILL HAVE THOUGHT OF!!! I’M A PROFESSIONAL WRITER).
Pitch Perfect is out in Australian cinemas December 9. Which is A LONG TIME FROM NOW – but if I didn’t write this review now, I’d have never written it. And I think this is important for our friendship if you all watch it and we can talk about it together. Okay guys? Sleepover at my place December 10- the day after the film is released. Bring your own sleeping bag.