Film Review: Pitch Perfect (2012)

Cast helps “Perfect” stay on pitch, 4/5 stars

Carl J. Bachus | Collegio Writer

As the proverb goes, there is nothing new under the sun. Universal’s “Pitch Perfect” is an obvious example. We’ve seen the story before: mediocre team flubs a big competition, too-cool-for-school prodigy shakes things up, there’s conflict and so on and so forth. “Perfect,” however, is one of those rare movies, like 2010’s “Easy A,” that couldn’t have succeeded without a stellar cast and impeccable comedic timing.

Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) and Aubrey (Anna Camp) in "Pitch Perfect" (2012, Universal).

Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) and Aubrey (Anna Camp) in “Pitch Perfect” (2012, Universal).

The film stars Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air,” “Twilight”) as Beca, a charmingly sardonic female character who has become popular in recent years. This time around, she’s an aspiring DJ with dreams of making it big in California. First, she has to spend a year in college because ‘of course she does.’ During an activities fair (they’re just like us!), Beca meets the Barden Bellas, an all-girls a cappella group with vomit-y competition to make up for and a new batch of new recruits. After the preliminary character introductions and expository dialogue, we get into what everyone’s seeing this movie for: white girls singing Blackstreet. Well, Blackstreet among the usual karaoke sounds of Flo-Rida and Kelly Clarkson.
“Pitch Perfect” was written by Kay Cannon, a writer and producer for popular shows like “30 Rock” and “New Girl.” Although her penchant for witty, self-referential dialogue translates well to the big screen, her strengths clearly lie in the realm of television. From the minimal character development to the funny, but flat archetypal characters, the script feels more like a television pilot than its own feature film. Too bad “Glee” already has three years on it. The song selection leaves much to be desired, but it was featured fairly well. Cringe-worthy Rihanna and Flo-Rida songs were occasionally made up for by foot-tap-inducing renditions of “No Diggity” and Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”
The film, funny as it was, would have fallen flat if not for the outstanding cast, most notably Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson of “Bridesmaids”) and Kendrick as the central character. Kendrick’s come a long way from appearing in the first “Twilight” film and has gained quite a bit of momentum since earning an Oscar nomination for her performance in 2009’s “Up in the Air.” She seems more comfortable with these lead roles, but it’d be nice to see her in a meatier part. That being said, she’s nothing short of a delight to watch in the film. Wilson, however, never disappoints. Always the crowd pleaser, Wilson is essentially playing herself, delivering her lines with razor-sharp comedic timing. Rounding out the cast is “Workaholics”’ Adam DeVine and newcomer Ester Dean, best known for being featured on the popular Nicki Minaj hit, “Super Bass.”
“Pitch Perfect” isn’t deep enough to win any Academy Awards or vapid enough to win any MTV Awards, but it’s a fun time for anyone who enjoys those feel-good throwaway movies that usually fill the months between the summer blockbusters and obvious-Oscar-bait season. With a great cast, a fun setting and a script that’s more hit than miss, “Perfect,” despite its flaws, never goes off tune.

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