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Movie Review: Pitch Perfect

September 28, 2012

Pitch Perfect – A Universal Pictures’ Release

http://www.pitchperfectmovie.com/

Release Date: September 28th, 2012

Rated PG for language and crude content

Running time: 112 minutes

Jason Moore (dir.)

Kay Cannon (screenplay)

Based on the book by Mickey Rapkin

Christophe Beck (music)

Mark Kilian (music)

Anna Kendrick as Beca

Brittany Snow as Chloe

Anna Camp as Aubrey

Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy

Alexis Knapp as Stacie

Ester Dean as Cynthia Rose

Hana Mae Lee as Lilly

Skylar Astin as Jesse

Ben Platt as Benji

Adam DeVine as Bumper

Elizabeth Banks as Gail

John Michael Higgins as John

©Universal Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

The Bellas, including Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) and Beca (Anna Kendrick) perform in Pitch Perfect.

Our reviews below:

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Pitch Perfect Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

The world of young adult a cappella competitions are the subject of director Jason Moore’s fun comedy Pitch Perfect, providing plenty of hilarious scenes to go along with the vibrant musical numbers.  The fact that the movie stars Anna Kendrick and references The Breakfast Club as having “the best ending of all time” just made me like it even more.

Beca (Anna Kendrick) is a new student at Barden University, who would rather be in Los Angeles trying to get a job as a record producer.  But when Chloe (Brittany Snow) hears her singing “Titanium” in the shower, she convinces Beca to join The Bellas, an a cappella group run by mean girl Aubrey (Anna Camp) who is desperately trying to win a national competition where she embarrassed herself the year before.  The self titled Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) is also new to the group.  Their biggest rivals are The Treblemakers, a group of guys run by the ruthless Bumper (Adam DeVine) who spontaneously burst into song and are an annual favourite.  But the competition gets a little more complicated when Beca starts falling for Jesse (Skylar Astin), who is the newest member of The Treblemakers.

Anna Kendrick is excellent as always, and she has a nice on screen chemistry with the charming Skylar Astin.  This really is an ensemble picture and the whole cast gets a chance to shine, including some very funny moments courtesy of John Michael Higgins and producer Elizabeth Banks as the judges of the competition.  But it is Rebel Wilson who steals every scene.  Fat Amy is the sort of character who can get away with some outrageously funny lines, and everything that comes out of her mouth is hilarious, even at times when it is entirely inappropriate.  It is pretty much a guarantee that you will find yourself quoting her as you leave the theatre.

Although destined to draw comparisons to Glee, it should be noted that Pitch Perfect plays more like a refreshing parody of the musical TV show than an extended episode.  The film sometimes relies too heavily on needlessly gross visual humour, including not one but two prolonged sequences of projectile vomiting, including the particularly disgusting sight of a character rolling around in puke.  But these are only minor problems with a movie that is otherwise constantly entertaining and a lot of fun.  The script by Kay Cannon’s is at its funniest when sharp dialogue is the basis of the humour, providing plenty of surprisingly sharp jokes centred around the offbeat world of a cappella competitions.

The soundtrack is consistently excellent, with plenty of high energy vocal covers of pop songs that are expertly performed by the cast, including several show stopping numbers and a particularly memorable “riff off” between the two groups.  As a fan of pop music and Anna Kendrick, I enjoyed Pitch Perfect.

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Pitch Perfect Review by Erin V.  

**1/2 (out of 4)

What could be described as a hard-edged Glee with a college cast, Pitch Perfect has fun musical numbers, raunchy jokes, and enough entertainment for those who will buy a ticket.

When Beca (Anna Kendrick) arrives at her new college she is confronted by a bunch of the various groups on campus who all try to get her to join.  She is not comfortable with any of them, least of all the one that pressures her to join – the a capella group ‘The Bellas.’  Beca doesn’t really want to be in college in the first place and would rather be a DJ out in California and really sees no point to singing without music that can be mixed behind you.  But after reluctantly agreeing to join she finds herself to actually start enjoying the performing challenge of the acapella group and finds herself falling for Jesse (Skylar Astin) of the rival guy’s a capella group on campus – ‘The TrebleMakers.’

For an ensemble music movie the film is pretty good, and Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson in particular are quite good in the film.  The rest of the main cast is pretty typical for this type of thing, although watch for a funny appearance of Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins as announcers at the a capella competitions.

There are some jokes here that don’t work – in particular the recurring ‘vomit’ jokes revolving around one character.  Other than that if you can handle weird, and often more mature humour you should be fine.  Overall, Pitch Perfect is entertaining to watch and while I didn’t know if I would, I for the most part enjoyed it.

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Pitch Perfect Review by Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

Drawing inspiration from Bridesmaids and Glee, Pitch Perfect is a comedy about the rivalries between college a cappella glee clubs.  Beca (Anna Kendrick) is a freshman who needs to make friends.  Her dream is to write and produce music in Los Angeles, despite her father’s insistence that she attends college first.  But she is bored at college, until she is discovered accidentally by a member of the Bellas, the female a cappella group.  The Bellas are dictated by Aubrey (Anna Camp), whose controlling behaviours stem from an embarrassing and revolting stage fright incident.  She will not allow Beca to date one of The Treblemakers, the college’s rival mens a cappella group.  Predictably, Beca falls for Jesse (Skylar Astin), one of the Treblemakers who works at the same radio station that she does.

The film has several great musical numbers and performances.  One of the best scenes involves an alleyway sing off between the Bellas and the Treblemakers.  I was also amused by a bizarre performance from the Sockapellas, a glee club comprised of sock puppets.  The characters in Pitch Perfect are also funny.  Beca is quite admirable as someone who speaks for herself and Jesse is sweet.  “Fat Amy” (Rebel Wilson) of the Bellas is funny, and nerdy Treblemaker Benji (Ben Platt) is adorkable.

The dialogue is clever, quirky and often hilarious.  However, what isn’t funny are the two disgusting (although clearly exaggerated) horror movie worth scenes of projectile vomiting.  Will filmmakers finally get that certain bodily functions just aren’t funny?  The moment in the opening scene caught me by surprise, as did a YouTube rehash of it, but I was able to predict the third time that this nauseating gag was brought around.

While this film can’t live up to its name, Pitch Perfect is a fun movie that plays like a parody of Glee.  As Christopher Mintz-Plasse says in one scene, it doesn’t deal with “social problems or confused sexuality.”  Fans of choirs, musicals and particularly Glee will enjoy Pitch Perfect.

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Pitch Perfect Review by Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

Overall, Pitch Perfect hits all the right notes when it comes to entertaining musical numbers, but hits a couple of sour ones courtesy of disgusting gross out gags involving projectile vomiting.  We get it.  Girls can be gross too.

Anna Kendrick brings her Broadway roots to Pitch Perfect as Beca, a first year college student with dreams to become a record producer.  Discovered singing in the shower, she is invited to try out for the college a cappella girls team, The Bellas.  Led by Aubrey (Anna Camp) whose controlling nature cost The Bellas the championship, the group needs new members if they are going to finally defeat their main rivals, the all male Treblemakers.  Beca’s presence shakes things up for The Bellas as does Australian member Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) who is as funny as she is talented.

The talented singers are what makes Pitch Perfect so watchable.  Anna Kendrick is really good in this movie.  The sweet romance with her character and Treblemakers member Jesse (Skylar Astin) adds a nice dimension to the story.  However, it’s Rebel Wilson who steals every scenes that she’s in.  Her comic timing is perfect.  There are some really good musical numbers in Pitch Perfect.  I especially liked the college courtyard sing off between the rival campus choral clubs.  The ongoing reference to John Hughes’ film The Breakfast Club is a nice touch.

Anna Kendrick fans and those who enjoy movies where music is the main character will find lots to like in Pitch Perfect.  But those who are prone to queasiness will want to look away during the gross out gags.

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Pitch Perfect Review by Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

Pitch Perfect has been compared to a college version of Glee for a capella groups. Though Beca (Anna Kendrick) prefers mixing music on her Macbook, her father has persuaded her to enter Barden University where he teaches. He insists she get involved in campus activity so Beca reluctantly joins the women’s a capella group that is very much in the shadow of the National championship winning men’s group. The women’s leader Aubrey (Anna Camp) is autocratic and traditional, which Beca and some others feel is holding the group back, but only a crisis will get her to hand over enough control to let the group really show what they can do. Meanwhile the men’s group has a crisis of its own, complicated by a budding relationship between Beca and its freshman member Jesse (Skylar Astin).

In terms of the competition, Pitch Perfect follows a similar plotline to the recent Joyful Noise, though the personal stories largely brought out through the music are not nearly as interesting. The cast led by Kendrick is good, including John Michael Higgins and (co-producer) Elizabeth Banks as competition hosts, Christopher Mintz-Plasse running the auditions, and Rebel Wilson stealing her scenes as Fat Amy. Musical performances are impressive, particularly from the men’s group and what we see from other rival groups, outclassing the women for the most part. To be fair, some credit is due to the ghost singers listed merely as numbered male and female voices, and the sound may well have been fortified at times with instrumentation.

Overall, despite a couple of gross outbursts, Pitch Perfect is quite entertaining, especially for fans of the music it highlights.

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Consensus: Although some of the needlessly gross gags don’t work, Pitch Perfect is a college comedy with a sharp script and excellent soundtrack, that is worth seeing for the good performances from Anna Kendrick and a scene stealing Rebel Wilson.  **1/2 (Out of 4)

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