When you mix “Glee” and “The Sing-Off” together, you end up with “Pitch Perfect.” With the country’s recent craving for competitive group a cappella, this coming-of-age comedy will satisfy anyone’s musical desire.
The movie, which is based on GQ Magazine’s senior editor Mickey Rapkin’s nonfiction book “Pitch Perfect,” tells the story of the all-female a capella group, The Barden University Bellas. Though just your average predictable musical comedy, the “Bring It On”-esque competitiveness is what makes this film exciting. Plus, the film has several laugh-out-loud one-liners.
The lead character, Beca, a rebelious college freshman at Barden University, is played by “The Twilight Saga’s” Anna Kendrick. Because Beca aspires to become a DJ, she has no desire to be at her university. Her father, who happens to be a professor, is just your average it’s-my-word-and-no-one-else’s parent that forces Beca to stay at Barden for one year before settling on moving to Los Angeles to pursue a music-mixing career.
At the beginning of the film, we learn about a bad memory of which the Bellas are constantly reminded. In order to gain a better reputation for themselves, they must work hard to rebuild their group and try to start fresh.
The two leaders of the Bellas are played by Anna Camp (“True Blood”) and Brittany Snow (“Hairspray”). They both work together to recruit new members into the
a capella group and end up meeting Beca and learning she can sing. Because Beca’s father wants her to make friends and be involved, she decides to join them.
Of course, since the film is all about competition, there has to be some kind of rivalry. Barden University has four a capella groups, though only two seem to be serious. The Bellas and the all-male group, The Treblemakers, are the main rivalries we see in the film.
During their competitions, the groups perform songs or medleys a la “Glee.”
Though the competitions are not exactly realistic, being as how all-male and all-female groups have completely different sounds, their friendly rivalry reminds us that it’s all in good fun anyway.
The movie plays up the recruitment of the a capella groups like that of a sorority or fraternity. Both of the main groups have their members go through some type of ritual before joining. The Bellas must also make an oath not to have sexual relationships with the Treblemakers, otherwise they will be out of the group.
As expected, there is a love story within the mix of the singing competitions. Beca meets Jesse, played by newcomer Skyler Astin, at her internship with the campus radio station. Jesse, who also happens to be a new member of the Treblemakers, has the appearance of a young Dane Cook and the heart of a modern Ryan Gosling.
With their common bond being their love of music, Beca and Jesse connect with each other from the start.
As for the music in the movie, you hear a wide variety of songs. You’ll hear anything from ‘90s ballads to rap to some of today’s popular music–all done in a cappella that’s actually not bad.
Among the Bellas, we have some interesting characters. For starters, there is new comedienne Rebel Wilson who plays the hilarious role of Fat Amy. The Australian “Bridesmaids” actress adds her unique flair to the movie.
Other unique characters are Benji, Stacie, Lilly and Cynthia Rose. Cynthia Rose is played by American singer Ester Dean. Surprisingly, Dean doesn’t have many moments in the vocal spotlight.
The film also features “The Hunger Games’” Elizabeth Banks, who plays a commentator alongside John Michael Higgins. Both mix comedic relief with sexual innuendos.
The Bellas transition themselves throughout the movie and ultimately get better as a group. The conclusion of the film will bring you joy and make you want to buy the soundtrack.
Overall, Kendrick has a great performance, regardless of her awkward dance moves and heavy eyeliner.
Review by Anna Taylor, Features Editor.