Sunday, January 25, 2015

Movie Review: Pitch Perfect

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Amazing singing, good second half
Cons: Very awkward and nerdy in the beginning; projectile vomiting
The Bottom Line:
A Cappella groups
In singing competitions
Better near the end

A Little Too Pitchy to be Perfect

Somehow, I missed what Pitch Perfect was even about until a friend learned I loved a Capella music and told me about it.  Ever since then, it’s been on my to be watched list, which means I had to set my DVR when I saw it on TV.  I think I paid about the right price.  It grew on me, but it wasn’t as great as I had hoped.

Beca (Anna Kendrick) is a freshman at Barden University, but against her will.  She wants to go to LA to start a career in music, but her father is insisting she have at least one year in school first.  And she has to join some kind of group or club and attempt to make friends.

That choice is helped along when she is overheard singing in the shower and is asked to join the Bellas, the school’s all-women a Capella group.  Last year, they made it to the national finals, something women’s groups have a hard time doing.  They are hoping to actually win this year, which means beating the all-male group at Barden, the Treblemakers.  However, Beca is quickly clashing with the Bellas’s leader, Aubrey (Anna Camp) over just about everything.  Will it work out?  Can the Bellas rise above the past and win?

The plot is perfectly fine.  It’s a fairly predictable story, but that never bothers me as long as I’m having fun along the way.  And I did have some fun – once things settle down in the second half.

I actually had several issues with the film.  The first?  Projectile vomiting.  Twice.  Enough said there, right?  Moving on, the characters are just plain weird.  I don’t know that there was a normal one in the bunch.  Now, I don’t mind oddball characters as a rule, but this movie seemed to be almost mocking them, especially in the beginning.  Considering I hate what I have termed awkward humor, situations where we are supposed to laugh at someone making a fool of themselves, I really had a problem with that in the beginning.  I realized as I was watching the film that this is part of my problem with Rebel Wilson, who appears here as Fat Amy, another of the new Bellas.  We are supposed to laugh at her being stupid, and I just don’t find it amusing.

However, as the film went on, all that began to change.  Some of the characters showed some depth.  They all stopped being completely clueless idiots.  And as they became friends, I got behind the movie and started rooting for them to get the well-deserved happy ending.  Well, most of them.  There were still a couple of jerks in the cast, but we weren’t supposed to warm up to them.

One thing that never changed for me was my opinion of the commentators.  Played by Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins, they provided some color commentary for the viewers at home (I guess the contests were televised?  I never got that).  However, these comments were filled with pointless sexual innuendo and sexism.  They added nothing to the film and actually took away from my enjoyment.

However, I did enjoy the music.  Wow was it fabulous.  I’m seriously thinking about getting the sound track.  Any time the groups are singing, and there is plenty of singing, the movie is wonderful.

And the acting is great as well.  Everyone brought their characters to life perfectly.  Yes, as much as I don’t like the characters she plays, Rebel Wilson did a good job with Fat Amy.  I also really enjoy Skylar Astin as Beca’s potential love interest Jesse.

So I’m left feeling ambivalent about the film.  Pitch Perfect definitely had some moments I enjoyed, but there was also plenty that made me cringe along the way.  Even though I loved the music, I probably won’t rush out to watch it again.

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