Pitch Perfect Review: An Off-Key Performance
-Mitchel Clow 10/12/12
Pitch Perfect sells a great product. With a poppy trailer, cast of attractive upcoming stars, and pop music done a cappella, or with all vocals, it’s no wonder Hollywood ate up the concept. Unfortunately, it’s a shame that the final script is the one audiences see play out on the silver screen.
The latest musical to fall off of the Glee bandwagon, Pitch Perfect focuses on a rising variation of music mostly unheard by mainstream audiences. Up In The Air’s Anna Kendrick stars as the film’s cliché rebellious college freshman mold, Beca. Doe eyed and determined to become a DJ in California, Beca eventually finds herself drawn into the world of competitive collegial a cappella groups.
And that’s where the organization stopped. From there on out, the movie failed to maintain one consistent string of a storyline. Characters were often developed, simply to be dropped on the curb, never to be heard of again. If a conclusion to a story arc was present, it often felt either very forced or like a cop out.
I tried to root for the lead, but Beca’s intentions became muddled by the general mess of the movie. Did it matter that Beca seemed to have a crush on the station manager at the radio station she works at? And why in the world did a physical fight with police involvement occur after one of the singing competitions?
Questions like these plagued my viewing experience. Dare I say, I was even looking forward to the conclusion of the tedious story.
Song choices were here and there, sometimes consisting of chilling renditions of top 40 hits, and at other times of out of date and tired 80’s singles. Kendrick proved that she hadn’t lost her Tony Award nominee pizzazz, in that she was able to act her way out of nearly any dead end, and could carry a tune to boot. Beca’s male counterpart Jesse, played by Skylar Astin, had quite the set of pipes, and blew most other performers out of the water.
On top of the cluttered script and character list, a light comedy theme was spread throughout. Jokes were simplified, crude, and unintelligent. A ridiculous, character-breaking skit involving excessive amounts of vomit was tired before it was even conceived. Any of the true comedy in the film can easily be attributed to Bridesmaids’ actress Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy.
In the end of the day, I suppose what felt the most off about this movie was that it wasn’t ever sure of its own footing. At times, we were meant to laugh at the nature by which a cappella music is performed. At others, we were meant to take the endeavourers of the characters, both on stage and off, in a serious fashion. Maybe.
**/***** (2 out of 5 stars)
Rated PG-13 for sexual material, language and drug references.
Running Time: 112 minutes (1 hour and 52 minutes)
Original Release Date: October 5th, 2012