It goes against my better judgment to say it, but in times of revision and boredom Pitch Perfect was a bit of a saviour. I think a great deal of people would probably dislike what it has to offer, but for students that need an hour-and-a-half out of work to watch something easy and, to be honest, mindless, this is perfect.
Anna Kendrick plays the lead, but the shoes of edgy outsider Beca never seem to fit all that comfortably. Beca is forced to attend college by her father who does not support her dreams of becoming a DJ in LA. Unintentionall,y she finds herself almost instantly part of the all-female a cappella group the Bellas. Thankfully, due to her skills on the decks, Beca is able to revive the dated Bellas and finally give them a chance against the arrogant male group, the Treblemakers.
Rebel Wilson has been one to watch since appearing in Bridesmaids, and this is proved in Pitch Perfect where she is provides many comedic moments. Instead of becoming the stereotype the screenwriter clearly wanted her to portray, she made ‘Fat Amy’ an original creation. With her keen sense for deadpan delivery, she brings something that American teen movies rarely do, and that is believable irony.
Unfortunately, when looking at other facets of the film, there is nothing particularly unique. Every new character that is introduced comes with a tired stereotype that lacks subtlety. A constant joke is made about the Asian girl who is so quiet no one can hear her talk and a black lesbian whose sexuality is insistently focused upon rather than the incredible voice she brings to the group. These boxes the characters are in leave no room for the actors’ individuality and reduces the possibility of believable relationships between them. About halfway through, I realised I was no longer concerned about what was going to happen between Beca and her potential love interest, or if she was going to become life-long friends with the other girls.
Pitch Perfect should be praised for its satirical and occasionally cynical look at what seems to be an important part of some students’ college life. Some of the stereotypes were able to grab my attention for the right reasons. For example, Aubrey (Anna Camp), a spoilt, middle-class sheltered teen who deservedly receives her comeuppance a number of times throughout. She was also one of the many characters to learn a moral life lesson; and if an American teen movie can do one thing, we would hope it would be this.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the thoroughly enjoyable musical arrangements performed by each ensemble. Of course, it would have been impossible to bring anything particularly new; this is a film that relies entirely on a formula that already present in TV shows like Glee. But there was enough humour in the performances to 0utweigh any of Pitch Perfect‘s failings.
It’s unchallenging but maintains a strong pace throughout, so you will not find yourself bored. Yes, it’s full of clichés, but show me a recent teen film bereft of them? Give it a try, you might even find yourself singing along.