It’s been done before. That age-old story about the underdogs that are stuck in their ways and won’t change for anyone or anything and that’s what is preventing them from being champions. It’s a tried and true formula for how to tell a story about perseverance while making you root for the good guys. Films as diverse from Coach Carter to Rudy to Bring it On, it’s been done before. Yet, something about Pitch Perfect does it all and then some. It’s a film that has no business being as good and funny as it is, but somehow though pulls it off.
Anna Kendrick (Twilight, Up in the Air, 50/50) plays alt-rocker chick Beca – a freshman at Barton University who just wants to move to Los Angeles and start her life/career as a professional DJ. She’s got talent both mixing tracks and singing when no one is looking but she’s a bit insufferable when it comes to other human interaction. In steps her Barton University professor father who tells her that she has to join a school club or he won’t help her get to LA. Genius! So Beca, after an awkward encounter with an a Barton Bella (the all female a capella group on campus), is convinced that she needs to try out to be a Bella member. Long story short, Beca auditions, gets on the team/group, and quickly becomes the “it” girl. However, she quickly makes a frenemy with senior Bella member – Aubrey (Anna Camp – The Help) – and finds herself trying to infuse the group with some new contemporary music. Aubrey doesn’t like this, nor Beca’s budding relationship with Jesse (Dane Cook…erm…Skylar Astin) a member of the Treble Makers – rival a capella group to the Bella’s.
The film plays out like all of the movies I mentioned at the top but infused with some great humor, mostly stolen scenes from Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids) who plays “Fat Amy”. After the movie I got to thinking she had the kindof comedic performance that launched Jonah Hill’s career after Superbad. I was not expecting the humor in Pitch Perfect to be that well timed or that well written either, but it was and it was pretty damned good. Kendrick, who is almost 27, plays a college freshman perfectly as she’s probably 4’10 and weighs 75 pounds. Seriously though, she’s a fantastic actress and she’s got a set of pipes on her as well. What really impressed me about the cast was that they all could legitimately sing. There was no lip syncing and no one who was trying too hard. Even Wilson, who would have been the last person I would think could sing that way, sounds impressive when you get a change to really hear her. The heartfelt scenes seem a little bit like the script tried to hard, but I suppose it was necessary to set up the story. There is a great reference/respect paid to John Hughes in the movie and that’s a huge deal to me, mainly because if Hughes was still alive and making movies and was interested in show choir, Pitch Perfect is exactly the type of movie he would have made.
Bottom line, if you’re a fan of Glee but you’re tired of all the tried high school drama bullshit on FOX, give Pitch Perfect a chance. You won’t regret it.