Okay, what’s with all the musicals lately? Although to be honest Pitch Perfect (2012) doesn’t strike me so much as a full-on musical as it does an opportunistic, formulaic Hollywood movie — with music. As such it’s fairly successful, fun and pleasant, but not particularly exceptional.
That said, it does have the appealing Anna Kendrick, who stars as Beca, a reluctant college freshman who’d rather drop everything, move to L.A., and start her career as a DJ – but strikes a deal with her dad to give school a try. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of musical outlets available on campus for an alternative DJ like Beca…until she gets recruited by the outgoing Chloe (Brittany Snow) into an all-girl acapella singing group called the Bellas. The music chosen by the group’s uptight leader Aubrey (Anna Camp) isn’t really Beca’s cup of tea, but the unexpected friendships she makes in the misfit group make it all worthwhile. And of course the group’s performances build in a series of a competitions, in which they face off against hated rivals the Treble Makers — where Jesse (Skylar Astin), a boy interested in Beca, is singing. Will they win?
There’s a lot to enjoy in Pitch Perfect. The talented, mostly female cast has a strong chemistry, the attitude is upbeat, many of the jokes are funny. I even almost liked some of the music. The highlight of the film for me was the audition sequence, which is hilarious, and I have to admit I fell in love with Anna Kendrick a little during her audition solo. On the other hand, the story is profoundly predictable: it’s Glee meets Bring It On with a side of Bridesmaids, pretty much, hitting all the expected notes at all the expected times. And while it executes that formula nicely, it doesn’t rise above it, and is occasionally marred by some unfortunate stereotypes and gross-out humor. So it’s pretty fun stuff, but it doesn’t exactly live up to its title.