(Featured image via Spinoff Online)
Who knew a cappella was actually a fierce competition sport? For that matter, who knew people under the age of 45 who aren’t balding actually take part?
Well, Pitch Perfect elucidates the cutthroat world that is professional a cappella-ing, focusing on all-girl group The Bellas of Barden University, who after a rather messy loss at the previous year’s finals, have to try to put together a new team and take down all-male rivals the Treble Makers.
Their final selection is a bit of a mishmash – a girl who can’t speak above a whisper, a token sexually promiscuous yet lovable one, and of course, Fat Amy (our very own Rebel Wilson – who knew she could sing, hey?)
And then comes Beca (Anna Kendrick), a freshman and wannabe David Guetta who only joins the Bellas because her father basically bribes her with a ticket out of the place. But lo and behold, the alternative wunderkind begins to shake things up a bit with some more modern beats (even though she looks a little like she’s reprising her Up In The Air role with her flight attendant-esque threads).
Plus we have the love interest Jesse (Skylar Astin), who is unfortunately part of Barden’s rival all-male a cappella group, but as he works with Beca at the college radio station, looks like he might be beginning to break through her hard exterior.
I’m making it sound rather predictable (which ironically Beca decries as the reason she doesn’t enjoy movies) – and although it was, I actually loved it. I was toe-tapping and singing under my breath the whole time, and Kendrick’s version of Titanium is still in my head hours later. It also heavily referenced my favourite movie ever, The Breakfast Club, which may have helped bump it up in my books.
I hate to do the whole ‘this is a combo of blah and blah’, but really, think Glee crossed with Bring It On…in a good way. No, trust me – even though all of the actors look like they’re about 10 years too old for college, there’s the whole journey to regionals and then nationals (and things even get with a kind of underground ‘battle’ called a riff-off), and while it might sound tired, it was actually legitimately fun.
There were also puns aplenty, which I wholeheartedly believe can only ever add to the amusement factor. The music group names for one – Treble Makers, Footnotes etc. – plus prefacing pretty much everything with ‘aca’ – e.g., aca-bitches, aca-politics, and my favourite, aca-xcuse me.
Kendrick playing some kind-of-badass aspiring DJ with tattoos and spikes through her ears was a little bit of a stretch, but somehow the ex-Twilighter gets away with it, and is likeable, funny, and cute, even if her character is a touch stereotypical.
You might already know that Kendrick can sing, from her recent appearance in the puppet- loving video for Do It Anyway by Ben Folds Five, but she also delivers a sweet Dr Dre rap (to add to the musical creds, she was nominated a Tony award for a Broadway stint).
I’m not going to lie, it’s a massive chick flick, with Astin sufficiently stealing the limelight with his whole Josh-Radnor-but-hotter vibe (where are these boys at Australian universities?), an ending with a fair bit of touchy-feely getting-to-know-you and a whole lotta pop songs. But really, were you going to take your boyfriend anyway?
Look out for a couple of gross-out moments involving projectile vomit that looks like my mother’s pumpkin soup (sorry Mum), which did detract a little, and although some of the jokes were spoiled by the trailer, the laughs were still plentiful.
This was due mainly to Rebel Wilson’s one-liners, but Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgens as ICCAs (International Championships of Collegiate A cappella) announcers, stole every scene they were in with dry, hilarious banter. The dialogue between Kendrick and Astin was pretty sharp too, and their blossoming romance (naw) was rather endearing.
So while the storyline may have been a bit predictable, the performances were great, the humour spot on (minus vomit angels) and the mash-ups of modern songs will have you bopping along despite yourself.
4 of 5 stars
Published by the fabulous SPUR.