Pitch Perfect Movie Review
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Lead Actor(s): Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Skylar Astin, Anna Camp Main Characters and their Attributes:
* Becca Mitchell – A musically-inclined reclusive girl who wants to pursue a music career, she joins the Bellas to please her father and finds herself being caught up in their world. * Jesse Swanson – A member of the Treblemakers who has a crush on Beca. * Fat Amy – A comedic and irresponsible member of the Bellas from Tasmania. * Aubrey Posen – One of the co-leaders of the Bellas who is uptight and a traditionalist. When she vomited during a performance, she ruined the Bellas’ chance at winning nationals the previous year.
Riding the slipstream of Glee, this musical campus comedy gets by on some killer lines and a hefty dose of charm. The music I could take or leave, though there’s no denying the vigour of its performance. Guilty pleasure of the week is Pitch Perfect. This is a cheerful romp with silly dance routines directed by Jason Moore (Avenue Q) about the U.S. college craze for acappella singing. It’s like a superior, wittier double-episode of Glee.
Anna Kendrick reveals a pleasant singing voice as an aspiring record producer who tries to bring an all-female singing group into the 21st century. The competitions come with commentary by John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks, a hilarious double-act reminiscent of the canine pundits on Best In Show. The plotting is predictable, but many of the numbers are show-stoppers, and several performers — especially Rebel Wilson as a chubby Tasmanian — look like stars of the future. I particularly treasured Ms Wilson’s choice of nickname. ‘You call yourself Fat Amy?’ gasps one of the thin girls. ‘Yeah,’ comes the reply, ‘so twig bitches like you don’t do it behind my back.’ If you fancy a musical comedy that’s lighter than a souffle, put this at the top of your list.
Tony-nominated director JASON MOORE (Directed by) is the creative force behind some of Broadway’s biggest hits. Moore previously directed the smash hits Shrek the Musical, for which he earned Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk award nominations; Steel Magnolias; and Avenue Q, for which he received a Tony Award nomination. He directed Jerry Springer: The Opera, at Carnegie Hall, and the off-Broadway hits Speech & Debate, Guardians and The Crumple Zone. He is currently working on Tales of the City, with music by the Scissor Sisters, which premiered last year at the American Conservatory Theater and will open off-Broadway in 2014. Moore’s television directing credits include episodes of Dawson’s Creek, Everwood, One Tree Hill and Brothers & Sisters.Moore divides his time between New York and Los Angeles and received a BA in performance studies from Northwestern University. Overall Opinion/Evaluation:
Conflict: At the semifinals, Beca notices how bored the audience is with Aubrey are traditional (but already used arrangement, so she provides impromptu back-up, La Roux’s. The Bellas come in third in the competition behind the Treblemakers and the Footnotes. Even though the audience was pleased, Aubrey is not and she yells at Beca, who quits the group.
Resolution: During this time, Beca begins working as a DJ at the university radio station, playing her music on the overnight shift, and also steadily distancing herself from Jesse. She finds a copy of “The Breakfast Club” and watches it. She realizes how much she needs the Bellas in her life. Her father convinces her to rejoin the Bellas, who she finds falling apart. The Bellas, complete once again, have a heart-to-heart and appoint Beca as the leader. During their heart-to-heart talk session, many secrets about the ladies are revealed, such as: -Fat Amy’s real name is Fat Patricia -Beca’s love for the girls friendship -Cynthia-Rose’s gambling problem/sexuality confirmation They also decide to kick things up a notch with Beca’s 21st-century mash-ups.
Theme(s): The theme of that film permeates Pitch Perfect and lends a heaping amount of inspiration to the final showdown between the two groups.
Plot Summary: The Barden Bellas are a collegiate, all-girls a cappella singing group thriving on female pop songs and their perfect looks. After a disastrous failing at last year’s finals, they are forced to regroup. Among the new recruits is freshman Beca, an independent, aspiring DJ with no interest in the college life. But after she meets Jesse, from the rival all-male a cappella group, Beca has a new outlook and takes it upon herself to help the Bellas find their new look and sound and get back into the competition. Description/Summary:
Beca, a Barden freshman, has no desire to go to college, but is forced to attend by her father, a professor at the university. Wishing to instead move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music making, she takes up an internship at the school radio station, where she meets fellow freshman Jesse who intends to start to have a not-so-secret crush on Beca. When Beca’s father finds out that Beca has not been attending classes, he offers to let Beca go to Los Angeles (which he will help pay for) if she joins a club and proves that she wants to be involved for the rest of the year. After some persuasion from Aubrey, the group leader, and Chloe, she joins the Bellas (an all girl acapella group), along with a group of other women who do not fit the Bellas’ typical mold, including the Cynthia-Rose, the sexually driven Stacie Conrad, the awkwardly quiet Lilly Onakuramara, who speaks inaudibly, and Fat Amy.
At practice, Aubrey’s controlling nature gets on the nerves of the other girls, especially Beca. She is constantly critical and insists that they use the same set list the Bellas have been using for years, which clashes with Beca’s original style. Meanwhile, Beca hangs out with Jesse, who has joined the Treblemakers, the Bellas’ main rival. Aubrey warns the group not to have any sexual contact with the Treblemakers, or they’re forced to leave the Bellas. Beca plays several of her own mixes of contemporary songs for him, and he compliments her for her talent. He then tries to get Beca to watch the ending of The Breakfast Club, one of his favorite movies, after Beca tells him she does not like movies and would rather go to a gynecologist or relive her parents divorce because they bore her and she never makes it to the ending. Despite their issues, the Bellas attend the regional acapella competition. In spite of their dis-tasteful set list, the group manages to place second at the regional acapella competition, which gives them the bid to semi-finals. On the way to semifinals, the group stops for gas where Fat Amy is hit with a burrito by Bumper, the leader of the Treblemakers, as they drive past in their own bus. After the other girls clean her up, they continue on to the venue but run out of gas since Fat Amy forgot to put any in the
bus. They are then forced to call the Treblemakers to drive them to the venue, which then leads to some smack talk during the car ride there. At the semifinals, Beca notices how bored the audience is with Aubrey are traditional (but already used arrangement, so she provides impromptu back-up, La Roux’s. The Bellas come in third in the competition behind the Treblemakers and the Footnotes. Even though the audience was pleased, Aubrey is not and she yells at Beca, who quits the group. The Bellas make it into the Nationals after the Footnotes are disqualified because their lead singer was discovered to be in high school, not college. The Bellas get back together after spring break, but Beca is not included.
During this time, Beca begins working as a DJ at the university radio station, playing her music on the overnight shift, and also steadily distancing herself from Jesse. She finds a copy of “The Breakfast Club” and watches it. She realizes how much she needs the Bellas in her life. Her father convinces her to rejoin the Bellas, who she finds falling apart. The Bellas, complete once again, have a heart-to-heart and appoint Beca as the leader. During their heart-to-heart talk session, many secrets about the ladies are revealed, such as: -Fat Amy’s real name is Fat Patricia -Beca’s love for the girls friendship -Cynthia-Rose’s gambling problem/sexuality confirmation They also decide to kick things up a notch with Beca’s 21st-century mash-ups. At the National Competition, the Bellas sing a piece arranged by Beca. The Bellas win the competition and Beca and Jesse reunite with a kiss. Fast forward to 6 months later with new auditions, where it shows Jesse and Benji sitting at a desk in the auditions hall, followed by Beca and the Bellas, along with their Nationals trophy, preparing to select new members for their groups. Analysis:
It should be noted that “Pitch Perfect” is an exaggeration, a fiction in which the world of college a capella is about a dozen times more exciting, day-to-day, than it actually is, one in which adapting, licensing and performing hit songs is not a logistical nightmare but a dream. Furthermore, the stars in Beca’s eyes broadly shine on an industry notoriously struggling with making money, turning to synch-licenses like those in “Pitch Perfect” and to product placement and commercial sponsorship after album sales have greatly decreased and digital single sales can only make up one piece of the lost pie. Thus, Beca’s desire is somewhat self-reflexive, if not dangerously outmoded, but I’ll play this little game because “Pitch Perfect” is actually kind of funny and otherwise harmlessly entertaining.
It’s much funnier and meaner than the show that influenced it; and if you squint a little, it’s basically an all-girl remake of Revenge Of The Nerds. Pitch Perfect is neither – but this all-singing, all-dancing college-bound musical comedy clearly owes a hefty debt to overwrought TV dramedy Glee.
Still, it’s wrapped in a shiny, eye-pleasing package, and unlike its increasingly cloying forebear Glee, almost impossible to hate. Ironically, given its title, the film’s tone often wobbles uneasily between heartfelt and snarky but, overall, it’s a satisfying, and occasionally even fist-pumping, tribute to the enduring spirit of misfits and weirdos. They are, naturally, the underdogs, and through your standard young adult struggles, they learn to work together and become a crackerjack force of vocal fury, as evidenced by the furious (for an a cappella competition, anyway), Bring It On-esque finale. I would recommend this movie to those who loves music passionately. Luckily, the good outweighs the bad in this bright ‘n’ breezy comedy about competitive a cappella singing groups. What we have here is a not-very-funny college comedy for tweens, full of unappealing characters (and although the musical arrangements are fun, some truly unimaginative choreography). It’s 80% affectionate parody of this sort of musical, but the numbers are taken seriously and are admirably choreographed, and the performances are sprightly.
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