Pitch Perfect | Movie review
Anna Kendrick can sing. Just find her a better stage.
The resplendent Anna Kendrick and Bridesmaids’ Rebel Wilson are the only reasons Pitch Perfect qualifies as a movie. Otherwise, this functionally shot feature from the director of Broadway’s Avenue Q and Shrek the Musical alternately resembles Glee and a pre-canned American Idol episode; at least at the promotional screening I attended, the credits began with Wilson inviting viewers to text their enthusiasm or post it to Facebook. Kendrick stars as incoming college freshman Beca, an aspiring DJ goaded into joining the Bellas. This sorority-like a cappella group is desperate to recover from last year’s final-round humiliation, which involved projectile vomiting during its signature Ace of Base number. (Go figure.) In between playlist spats, Beca falls for Jesse (Skylar Astin), who belongs to a rival group and fancies himself a cinephile. He introduces her to The Breakfast Club, noting it has the “greatest ending to any movie ever.”
In light of Pitch Perfect, it may seem that way. The musical numbers are at least allegedly sung by the cast members, though those hoping for a reprise of Kendrick’s scene-stealing Sondheim-belting in 2003’s Camp are out of luck. As the competition announcers, John Michael Higgins and producer Elizabeth Banks trade Dodgeball-style wisecracks, but their irreverent banter is canceled out by the movie’s questionable parade of ethnic caricatures, fat jokes and casual homophobia, as well as its sitcom-level plotting and tiresome running gag—the way the Bellas use “a ca–” as a prefix for everything. How a ca–nnoying.