Director: Jason Moore
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Rebel Wilson, Alexis Knapp, Adam DeVine, Freddie Stroma
Runtime: 1 hr 50 mins
Rating: PG13 (Sexual References)
Released By: UIP
Official Website: http://www.pitchperfectmovie.com/
Opening Day: 8 November 2012
Synopsis: Beca (Anna Kendrick) is that girl who’d rather listen to what’s coming out of her headphones than what’s coming out of you. Arriving at her new college, she finds herself not right for any clique but somehow is muscled into one that she never would have picked on her own: alongside mean girls, sweet girls and weird girls whose only thing in common is how good they sound when they sing together, in the new out-loud comedy Pitch Perfect. When Beca takes this acoustic singing group out of their world of traditional arrangements and perfect harmonies into all-new mash-ups, they fight to climb their way to the top of the cutthroat world of college a cappella. This could wind up either the coolest thing they’ll ever do or the most insane, and it will probably be a little of both. Loaded with new takes on old favorites to hits of right now that are seamlessly mixed together, mashed-up and arranged like you’ve never heard before, Pitch Perfect is directed by Jason Moore, who opened our eyes to the very misbehaved life of puppets in the surprise Broadway sensation Avenue Q.
Pitch Perfect is as close a send up to Glee as you could ever hope for, buoyed by a hotch-potch of catchy musical mash-ups, dozens of pretty faces, piercing comedy and genuine moments of emotion. Like other song-and-dance movies, Pitch Perfect tends to map to a certain bell curve: a troubled new girl comes to town, tries to find an identity by joining a music group, experiences more problems after joining, falls in love for support, and eventually inspires the group to victory. It’s a simple and fairly predictable movie, but Pitch Perfect is charming in its own right, borrowing from a sea of contemporary tunes for light-hearted family entertainment.
The troubled new girl in question here is Beca, a budding music producer who believes that she can launch her career in Los Angeles. Her father forces her to attend college, though helpfully attaching it with a caveat: if she still hasn’t adapted to school in a year after joining an extra-curricular group, she will be allowed to pursue her dreams. Initially feeling misplaced, Beca auditions for and successfully joins The Bellas, an all-girl a capella group that is set to go up against their all-male rival The Treblemakers again after the last face-off ended in a vomit-laden fiasco. Against the wishes of bumptious group leader Aubrey, Beca reinvents the group’s usual song list, and break-ups and make-ups happen before anything gets resolved.
In a world where people speak to each other with lyrics and characters randomly break out into songs, it’s easy to forget that those issues ever existed. Pitch Perfect seems like the kind of show that focuses solely on head-nodding and finger-tapping fun, but that’s okay. In fact, that’s the whole point of the movie. By taking real-life urgencies out of the picture, the movie creates this fantastical world where all that matters are the music and the charisma of the actors. And charisma is what Anna Kendrick, portraying Beca, has. The former Oscar nominee, largely cast in supporting roles before this, piles on her bombshell appearance and livewire presence to a brilliant vocal performance.
With such cheerfulness on display, it’d be a pity if there isn’t any comedy. Which explains many of the characters that Pitch Perfect has chosen to surround Beca with. Fat Amy, played by the plus-sized Rebel Wilson from Bridesmaids, is at once hilariously self-deprecating and smart, on the one hand revealing that she calls herself fat because she knows that she is and on the other hiding under a row of chairs to escape from the group’s cardio training. Lilly fills in as the shy Asian stereotype, speaking more softly than a whisper while Cynthia is a black lesbian, far too interested in putting her hands on others’ butts. Their roles here, matched in equal measure by the script’s sharp comedic timing, are so clearly defined that it’s hard to go wrong.
Instead, what’s hard to buy into is the relationship between Beca and Jesse, another new student from The Treblemakers. While there’re a handful of emotional moments near the end of the movie, much of the romance is too fleeting and patchy to be truly believable. Granted, both Beca and Jesse look like they’re well-suited given the similar tastes in music and the support that they constantly heap on each other, but asking the audience to accept that Jesse is willing turn Beca away the moment she apologizes for her tantrum is a line that’s a little too far to reach.
That said, even with a well-scripted romance, I don’t think Pitch Perfect is going to appeal to anyone who isn’t already into musicals or okay with them. Like most of the other movies in which actors are judged more on their singing or dancing talents than their acting abilities, Pitch Perfect carries off exactly what it attempts to do: that is, providing simple fun and laughter for the whole family. The songs performed here run the gamut of the most recent and common tracks, so anyone who has ever spent a night at K-box or Party World KTV is undoubtedly going to know something here.
(A song-and-dance movie that dishes out simple, light-hearted entertainment for the whole family)
Review by Loh Yong Jian