by Jansen Musico
Pitch Perfect (2012)
D: Jason Moore
S: Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Rebel Wilson, Adam DeVine, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee
What do you get when you take the sassy competitiveness of Bring It On, mash it up with the archetypes from Mean Girls, and subtract from it the Ryan Murphy-ness of Glee? Pitch Perfect? Nah, not really. Screenwriter Kay Cannon, better known for her work on 30 Rock, may have had these pop culture pegs in mind while writing the script, but the resulting movie is a little more than just a mishmash of these.
Pitch Perfect follows the template of most underdog movies. The Barden Bellas, a group of unconventional female singers, make it their goal to win the national collegiate a cappella competition. On the road, of course, they’re faced with fierce competition in the form of the testosterone-driven Treblemakers. The Bellas, though vocally tolerable, still need an edge to set them apart. In comes Beca (Anna Kendrick), the outsider with dreams of becoming a serious DJ. As in most underdog stories, the outsider gets absorbed in the group, ruffles some feathers, and eventually makes things better. The end.
The movie is predictable, but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Cannon fills the screenplay with enough memorable “aca-zingers,” movie references, and zany characters to keep the film’s audience entertained. Kendrick, whose reputation as an Oscar and Tony nominee precedes her, surprisingly fits her alt girl role. She can carry a tune, and her chemistry with the rest of the cast is believable. Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, and Brittany Snow make for amusing supporting characters. With the addition of Rebel Wilson, who ends up owning the movie with her hefty share of politically incorrect punch lines, the film is bound to join the hall of fame of fluffy and quotable cult classics.