Pitch Perfect (2012)

Still can’t get that freakin’ Ace of Base song out of my head. Grrr!

The film follows Beca (Anna Kendrick), a girl who arrives at her new college and finds herself not right for any clique. She discovers her voice when she somehow is muscled into the school’s a Capella group where she becomes the secret weapon for the school’s female team.

Now that Glee has taken over the world of television, and the world in general, it seems like every form of popular-entertainment is getting it’s own movie, to poke it’s head out to show that it’s around and pretty cool to be apart of. Somehow, a capella is now cool because of this movie.

Where I think the strength of this movie lies in is the fact that it’s able to have fun with itself and goof around for the short-time it’s on-screen. Everybody knows that a movie about a bunch of people just breakin’ out in the middle of nowhere and expressing themselves through song-and-dance numbers is strange, and you know what? So does this film and it doesn’t seem to apologize nor try to hide that fact. There are a lot of witty and sly jokes about gay people, fat people, and nerds, but the best jokes are the dirty ones that seem to come out of nowhere, and have you wonder what the hell type of movie they were going for. This type of confusion may poison most films, but somehow doesn’t poison this one and actually kept me on my toes wondering just what this flick was going to pull out of it’s ass (amongst other things) next.

The other strength of this movie is mostly within what this film sets out to show in the first-place: a capella singing numbers. Honestly, a capella has always been impressive to me but I never thought that a whole film could be made around it, while still being fun and enjoyable to listen to considering the whole idea of having a person voice a drum beat just doesn’t do much for me except make me want to try it at home. Maybe that’s a good thing, actually, but I know that I wasn’t looking forward to the types of songs they had ready for this flick and surprisingly, I was having fun with all of them. There isn’t one particular type of genre of music that this film focuses on and sings, instead, it’s mostly just a bunch of meshes between songs that are old and new, and some are great to hear back on the big-screen, while others just plain and simply annoyed me. In one of the most memorable scenes from the whole flick, the gangs face-off against one another in an underground match-up place/thingy, and start off by singing that annoying Rihanna songs about S & M, only to thankfully be saved by that Blackstreet song I haven’t heard since VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s Countdown. Not all of the choices terrible, and if they are, the film knows this and soon just changes it.

But where this film does seem to fail is in it’s actual-plot that just didn’t do anything to surprise me. The plot goes by it’s normal-structure where everything that you could expect to happen, does eventually happen, and just about no one learns anything at the end of the day. By the end of the flick, there is this scene where all of the gals huddle together and talk about their feelings, and what could have been a very special scene that was not only funny, but heartfelt as well, just seemed uber manipulative in the way it was trying to get us to see these girls for more than just a bunch of really good singers. I didn’t care if they could sing good, sing bad, or didn’t even speak, I just wanted them to be funny, that’s what I got, and that’s all I wanted. No extra drama needed, thank you very much.

That’s sort of a shame because every character here is charming and has their own, little special thing going on for them but then again, none of them ever felt fully fleshed-out for me. Even Beca to an extent was a boring character, not just because she wasn’t fleshed-out enough, but because her character is too stand-offish to even be likable or watchable for that matter. She goes around the whole flick, acting all serious while everybody’s acting weird, tries way too hard to be a bad-girl that doesn’t give into anybody that tries to help her, and almost feels like she could easily pass as a lesbian at one-point. Seriously, Beca is a boring character and it’s kind of hard to want to see her succeed with these group of gal-pal singers, and get the man at the end of the day. A man, who may I add, is totally too cool and happy for her miserable ass.

Even though this character is pretty lame, Anna Kendrick does try her hardest with it and in ways, does a very good at making this girl more than just your ordinary, boring underdog you need in any movie where there is a competition at. Her singing skills are obviously very good and so is her drama, but she’s a bit too old to be playing a freshman in college, especially one that barely has any friends or who hasn’t gotten impregnated yet with looks like that. Woo-wee! Playing that guy that tries to go for her is Skylar Astin as Jesse, a character who feels more fully-fleshed out than her and the typical guy that I could actually find myself hangin’ out with. Astin and Kendrick have a nice chemistry, and whenever Kendrick actually smiles with him, it’s the only obvious time where you can tell she’s having a nice time with a role that seems very dull and boring.

Everybody else, other than Kendrick, fares better with the material, especially the rest of her group of gal-pal singers. Rebel Wilson who seems to be on a roll as of late with each and every one of the goofy performances she puts out every 2 or 3 months, is fun as hell to watch as the awkward but brutally honest Fat Amy. Wilson obviously has the best comedic-timing out of everybody else in this flick, and it’s great to see her stretch it all out once again in a role that seemed fit for her fright from the start. Oh, and I can’t forget about John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks as the two color-commentators for the a capella competitions, who seem to come straight-out of a Christopher Guest film with reprehensible lines and all. Still though, they always got the laughs from me.

Consensus: Pitch Perfect has a very boring center and very predictable story to tell, but still kept me laughing with everything they threw at us, especially some of the most enjoyable singing performances I have heard in a film in a long, long time.



  1. Glad to see somebody else reviewing this movie, I gave it a bit of a higher score but in hindsight I might’ve beena bit soft on Kendick’s character. I do Like Anna though so I blame that more on the writers than her. I completely agree that Jesse was a refreshingly likeable love interest, he kept it from feeling too much like an Amanda Bynes movie at times.

    I’d say my least favorite part of the movie was Aubrey, she was the least funny and most cliche feeling character of all of them by far.

  2. I thought it was really an enjoyable movie that took me by surprise and I also gave it a higher score. But I’ll agree that for as much as the plot claimed it wasn’t cliche, it ended up being very cliche.

    But between the comedy and the performances, it was a great time for me.

  3. Hey Dan you spent a lot of time and effort writing a review for a film that I wish the writers had spent as much time to flesh out more. Agreed a rental at best. Cheers.

  4. i knew it was going to be bad but watched it anyways for kendrick and for some good tunes. totally stereotyped all their characters and it was just bland. definitely a dvd type of movie…

  5. I guess it would be okay for a rental too. I would give it like 8/10 though, I thought it was hilarious. A friend of mine was an extra in it too, because I saw Elizabeth Banks tweeted that they needed them in Baton Rouge, where my friend lives. 🙂

  6. I feel like this is the type of movie that you can know all about and read all the reviews and stuff, and you still end up watching with the same end-result. Seen that, knew that, kinda liked it. Though I feel like musicals are a genre that I don’t really get (blame it on my inability to sing for instance), I feel like comedies that have an extra element such as songs, come off more entertaining. It wouldn’t work as a random chick-flick if it weren’t for the singing. As you said, the plot fails to impress. Sad though, I wish more chick-flicks had an impact when it came to plot – I mean, as a girl, I deserve an amazing chick-flick!

  7. I was surprised to like this too. Being an Australian, I know Rebel Wilson (as in her work, not that all Aussies know each other lol) well and it surprised me how her character was very much like all the comedy characters she used to do back in Oz. I wondered if they let her ad-lib her lines and found out later that yep, that’s what happened. To me, the film gets an extra point for having the confidence to let her do her stuff like that 🙂

  8. Despite flaws in your writing I feel like I can trust your review. You seem to have skills in the film-critiquing area. Haven’t seen the movie yet but at least now I can go into it knowing what to expect.

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