Sunday, 30 December 2012

Pitch Perfect

AAAHHHH! Pitch Perfect is a teen comedy(?) about a ‘alternative girl’ called Beca (Anna Kendrick) who goes to college despite wanting to go straight to L.A. to try and make it as a record producer. She struggles to make friends in her first few weeks so her Dad (who happens to work at the college) tells her if she joins a social group and still hates her first year, he will pay for her to drop out of college and go to L.A. Beca chooses or rather is chosen for an all girl a cappella group called the Bellas. Beca finds that her free spirit and creativity is choked by the fellow Bellas but slowly begins to enjoy her time with the group. Also there’s some boy stuff, a radio station and room mate who is written in an incredibly racist way.

I went into the film with an open mind and thought that the trailer showed potential. There was a funny gag about the fat girl calling herself fat and an awkward scene in the shower. I also think that Anna Kendrick is showing promise as a great actress. Unfortunately the film is less of a let down and more a steaming pile of popularity pandering and obvious conclusions featuring a soundtrack which for a good hour made me hate music.

Although billed as a comedy I didn’t laugh outwardly once. A couple of times I tittered but it never became audible. If only the film had followed suit. Most of the good moments involve Rebel Wilson’s Fat Amy character, showing that her brief turn in Bridesmaids wasn’t a mere fluke. There were other jokes that kept returning which weren’t funny the first time. One girl is very quiet and she mutters unexpected things under her breath. This happens several times. Another girl is a closeted lesbian. This is apparently hilarious. One of them is a slut. LOL! The most frequent joke also happens to be the most a cainfuriating. A caget it? I’m putting a ca in front of words ‘cos it’s like A cappella. A ca. See? SEE!? This isn’t funny the first time but is nonetheless repeated until run into the ground and then a cabought back some a cafucking more. It may be that I am not the target audience and indeed I have an extra dangly thing and a good ten years on most of the audience who generally seemed to be laughing. One thing that got no laughs was the awful, awful commentary provided by co-producer Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins. This of all the long running jokes is the worst because at least the others got some response and annoyed me. Theirs were just bland and there, hanging in the air like a balloon full of farts.

The singing was very good but the songs were not. Towards the beginning the Bellas choose to sing old, boring songs. Boo! Old stuff? Gross. Get with it Granddad, it’s the 90s. By the end they are singing all manner of modern stuff which is loads better ‘cos it’s not old. Either way the songs are awful. There was one good piece where Kendrick sings while making sounds from a cup but the rest just went on and on and on and on and on and on… Talking of things that made me want to hurt the people around me, the ‘riff off’. I sincerely hope that is something which was invented for the film because if that’s a real thing then just give Iran the bomb and let’s be done.

The acting is mostly fine but the characters aren’t. As I’ve already hinted at, most of the characters are paper thin and have one facet to their personality. This becomes tiring after a while but towards the end a couple of them spring surprises. Anna Kendrick does her best with the role and Rebel Wilson is excellent. Skylar Austin, despite his ridiculous name is good and Brittany Snow and Anna Camp make good Mean Girl types. Sensing my boredom my girlfriend turned to me at one point and said “At least there are ladies for you” and she was right. I have the film to thank for introducing me to Alexis Knapp whose career/Google images I will be closely following. An actor who comes off terribly is Adam DeVine who appears to be channelling Jack Black; never a good thing.

I’m a little surprised to read that the film was warmly received in the US this Autumn but maybe my take was based on my cynical old person’s brain. Or maybe it’s because I have a brain. At one point the central character turns to another and says something along the lines of “I don’t like movies; you can always guess the ending. The guy always gets the girl”. This line threw me because that was exactly what I was expecting to happen. I waited for an unexpected ending while a totally expected ending fell in to place around me. Even the central character hates the fucking ending! There are other problems like the writing of the Korean room mate and the fact that Beca’s father happens to always be on hand to dish out wisdom and punishment but I can’t be bothered going on. Pitch Perfect is like a cross between an extended version of Glee and one of those Saturday Night ITV shows. That says it all.          

GFR 6/10


  1. I am not the target audience for this flick, and I enjoyed it a lot more then I thought I would. I liked the chemistry of the Bellas when they were singing, but I agree with you that all the characters were very cliched. I was just glad that it annoyed me less then what I thought it would.

    1. You're right, the chemistry wasn't bad. I just got so annoyed with the rest of the film that I forgot about it.

  2. Good review Tom. I was actually dreading watching Pitch Perfect, but I ended up having some fun with it due to it's strong cast, entertaining performances, and smart dialog.

    1. Weirdly I went in expecting something half decent. Maybe my expectations were too high.