October 7, 2012

Movie Review: Pitch Perfect

So, against what I thought was my better judgment, I went and saw Pitch Perfect. It is not my normal taste, but I have gone to worse films. Anyway, the trailer indicated a movie that was at least a little bit funny and I have come to enjoy Anna Kendrick and there is no denying that Rebel Wilson is downright hilarious. I figured I could put up with the a capella singing. Having seen the movie, let me say that I am quite happy that I did. The movie is a lot of fun, there are some very funny jokes and a nice satirical undercurrent permeating the proceedings.

The center of the story is Beca (Anna Kendrick), an alt-girl (as defined by multiple ear piercings and lack nail polish) whose only dream is to produce music. She spends much of her free time creating song mash ups on her computer. Her professor father offers to fund her dream of moving to LA if she will spend one year at college and join at least one activity.

This deal leads her to being recruited to the school's all female a cappella group, the Bellas, while singing naked in the shower. Beca ends up joining the group and immediately finding herself at odds with the controlling leader of the group, Aubrey. Don't these groups usually have a coach or at least some faculty involvement?

The movie is essentially a bonding session between the girls of the group. They come to learn something about themselves and the other people in the group and the idea of compromise and growth, blah blah blah. In that big picture regard, there is nothing particularly special about the tale. What makes Pitch Perfect entertaining and worthy of seeing are the surrounding details, bits of writing, performances, and the completely unbelievable feel of the whole thing.

Pitch Perfect is not believable in the least. This movie is in a universe where the kings of campus are a cappella singers. The competitions are accompanied by a pair of commentators (Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks) who are nothing but sarcastic and it is not even clear of the performances are being broadcast or of they are just there talking out loud. A lot of the comedy is at the expense of the singers and the performances. It was something I was not expecting. I figured it would be played straight and it was anything but. You will find yourself on board as soon as you can accept Kendrick's Beca as an outsider alt-girl.

The whole thing is ridiculous, but the mix of the sweet and the satirical blend in entertaining fashion. The movie just flies by. There are some threads that don't really pay off, like Beca's parents divorce, but the majority are just fine. Anna Kendrick's performance is fun and hits the right notes, but it is Rebel Wilson who steals the show. She is a force of nature, confident, self assured, and always funny, she owns every scene she is in.

Pitch Perfect is not a perfect movie by any stretch, but it is one that is better than I as any right to be. I am happy that I saw it. It is a ridiculous diversion that shows more intelligence than you would think.


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