A delightful mashup of "Revenge of the Nerds" meets "Step Up Revolution" with a heavy splash of "The Breakfast Club", "Pitch Perfect" hits virtually any funny bone highbrow to low while serving up some truly excellent musical dance performances.
We’re led by the excellent Anna Kendrick as Beca, a cool, self-confident, protectively aloof would-be DJ steered into college by a deal with her father. In hopes of ditching formal education and bugging out for LA, she upholds her end of the bargain by joining in with something, anything ~ and lands serendipitously in the somewhat surreal “A Ca” world: the a cappella group universe in which offbeat and edge-dwelling meet the highest levels of performance talent. It’s an ultra-competitive, consuming world where relations with rivals warrant exile and “a single mistake can haunt you forever and affect your children.”
Hey, people, relax. Beca just wants to mix.
(Not to mention that guy in the reigning champion Troublemakers is kinda cute, must we be so rabid about our boundaries?) According to Anna Camp’s disgraced leader Aubrey, yes, we really must.
And what’s with the stale grip on tradition? Can’t we layer in some complexity, liven it up by integrating the modern? No, no we really can’t.
Bring on the identity crisis, the reclamation of honor, and the quest for glory.
Jason Moore’s direction is "Pitch Perfect"’s unsung hero (literally), bringing us inside every moment, whether we’re held snug watching a movie in the dark or onstage participating in the performances. "Pitch Perfect" could so easily have been a detatched, observable event, and Moore never allows this to be, instead surrounding us with A Ca’s siren song as completely as it did Beca, despite her ~ and perhaps our ~ initial bewilderment.
Performances excel all around, most particularly that of Rebel Wilson, who simply kills it. Stealing very nearly every scene (as she did in her three or so of "'Bridesmaids" as Kristin Wiig’s horrid interloper roommate), she’s worth the price of admission alone.
"Pitch Perfect" needs no such singular reason to part with two hours and a tenspot, however. It would have been nice had Kendrick displayed a smidge more edge but it’s not a problem, and the entire cast does well with the quick, quirky dialogue and musical/dance performance alike.
Particularly amusing are Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins as commentators and still-fierce competitors of days past. (Additional goodness: you might remember Higgins’ putting a beatdown on Vince Vaughan in "The Break-Up" for interrupting the Tone Rangers’ groove of "Boogie Nights").They provide their own little side trip as did Gary Cole and Jason Bateman in "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" (hey, Vaughan again…), and though the content be utterly different, if you enjoyed "Dodgeball" you’ll enjoy "Pitch Perfect". Same sensibility, sense of humor, and relatability across generations.
It’s worth noting that while "Pitch Perfect" will leave you smiling and endorphin-rushed (particularly if you see it on a large screen), it’s not the kind that can actually pull you from a bad mood. If you’re feeling dour it’s likely to hit you as being annoying, so save it for another time. But if you’re feeling at least decent, by all means carpe diem!
Story: A reluctant college freshman and would-be DJ finds herself part of a struggling a cappella group driven to reclaim its honor after a disastrous finals competition the year before.
Genre: Comedy, Musical
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Rebel Wilson, Skylar Astin, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, John Benjamin Hickey
Directed by: Jason Moore
Running time: 112 minutes
Official site: http://www.pitchperfectmovie.com/
Houston release date: September 28, 2012
Tickets: Check Fandango or your local listings
Screened Sep 24th at the Edwards Grand Palace in Houston TX