Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review: Pitch Perfect

Before Pitch Perfect was released in theaters, I received invites to at least twelve different free screenings of this movie.  Depending on how you look at it, this was either a sign that the film had some issues so the creative team was looking for feedback or that the powers that be at Universal felt like they had a hit on their hands and were trying to generate word-of-mouth buzz.  Whatever the reason, the screenings and the marketing worked because the film earned a robust $76M against a $17M production budget.

Before renting this movie, I thought it would play like a glorified episode of Glee, but there was just enough of a Bring It On (vastly underrated movie) vibe to elevate it into something more.  The plot follows Anna Kendrick’s Beca – an aspiring DJ/producer with intimacy issues, who matriculates at Barton College and finds herself a member of The Bellas – an all female a cappella group.  Thrust into a national singing competition, Kendrick and her teammates must find the right formula to capture the coveted championship.

So as you might have guessed, we're not exactly dealing with Shakespeare or Milton here in regards to the subject matter and the plot asks for a bit too much suspension of disbelief, but one area where the film works is in the acting.  Don't get m wrong.  I am not implying that the acting is particularly great - in fact there are a few cringe-worthy moment - but what I do mean is that it is the right brand of acting to fit the film and its target audience.  Everyone not named Anna Kendrick needs only be perfectly one-dimensional to help fill the time between musical numbers (which are the nuts and bolts of the movie), and for the most part they are.

Rebel Wilson works the same side of the street as she did in Bridesmaids and What to Expect When You are Expecting, and it still works.  She is consistently the only legitimate comic relief in the movie and steals the show with her unique delivery.  Skylar Astin is charged with playing Kendrick’s love interest Jesse, and the only thing I can say about him is he has a good voice and looks like a cross between Dane Cook and Ben Savage.  As for the rest of the crew, Brittany Snow, Alexis Knapp, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, Kelley Jakle, et al excel as vocalists and are mediocre as actors.  But really, that is all they need to be.

As for Kendrick, I have been a huge fan of hers in the past as I loved her work in Up in the Air, 50/50, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and End of Watch.  Her work in this film is not nearly on par with those other performances, but she does show herself to be a tremendous singer.  Those moments are when she shines best, while the character development scenes feel rather pedestrian.  This I suspect is the result of the lackluster script, but yes, Kendrick has seen better days as an actress.  Still, she is just charismatic enough to keep the viewer engaged for the duration of the film.

Much like my review, my opinion of this movie is all over the place.  There are things that worked and things that didn’t.  However, there are just enough positives to make this movie mildly entertaining.  If you like light hearted films, then this one will play for you.  But if you are looking for gravitas or fisticuffs, then this movie probably will be your Kryptonite.  It won’t leave you feeling pensive or thoughtful, but Perfect Pitch may leave you wanting to add a few tunes to one of your playlists.  At the very least, the vocals are top notch. 

Standout Performance: Rebel Wilson.  She provides good comic relief.


  1. I sooo love this movie and especially the pitch perfect songs! Aca-awesome and Utkarsh s my crush! <3