Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Pitch Perfect was one of those movies I vaguely remembered promos for, but wasn't interested in paying the high movie ticket prices to see at the time. When the film came out on DVD, I heard great things about it, but somehow never got around to renting it. Recently, a sequel hit the theaters and all of my friends were harassing me about not having seen the original. Thanks to peer pressure and absolutely nothing on television, I found myself watching Pitch Perfect a couple of nights ago.
Beca Mitchell (Anna Kendrick) has dreams of going to Los Angeles to create music. She has a great ear for mixing and arranging, instinctively knowing what songs will go well together and how to mix them for optimal effectiveness. She wants to start her dream right away, but her professor father (John Benjamin Hickey) has other ideas. He wants his daughter to get a college education - something to fall back on should her dreams fall through - so he makes a deal with Beca: if she makes an attempt to assimilate by joining a club and sticking with it and she still wants to leave college, he will finance her trip to Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, the all female a cappella group at Barden University, the Barden Bellas is having issues of its own. After last year's nationals fiasco, Barden Bellas leaders Aubrey (Anna Camp) and Chloe (Brittany Snow) find themselves in the unenviable position of starting over. The competition is fierce, especially from the all-male Barden University group and reigning champs, the Treblemakers. Aubrey and Chloe decide to go after fresh faces - less than perfect women with terrific sound. When Chloe spots Beca's seeming interest, she actively pursues her for the club, much to Aubrey's chagrin.
Surprisingly, though she is also interning at the school's radio station, Beca also finds her membership in the Barden Bellas to be enjoyable. Unfortunately, she feels that the traditional style adhered to by Aubrey is rather boring and played. Beca believes that the only way for the Barden Bellas to make it to the nationals is to spice things up a bit. The rest of the group agrees, but Aubrey is less than enthusiastic. Can Beca somehow change Aubrey's mind and put the Barden Bellas on top or will last year's fiasco be doomed to repeat itself?
I have to say, I really enjoyed Pitch Perfect. The movie is kind of like a college a cappella version of Glee featuring some amazing vocals performed by students who would otherwise be considered outcasts by the rest of the college scene. Each of the a cappella groups featured here had really great vocal talent and blended well together and I loved the songs chosen for the a cappella performances, especially the mash-ups. Even the musical score was terrific thanks to the combined effort of composing greats Christophe Beck and Mark Kilian.
The characters were incredibly likeable and you actually rooted for the members of the Barden Bellas, even when they weren't blending well. Kudos to hysterical performances by Rebel Wilson and Hana Mae Lee, Wilson for her unpredictably great vocals and deadpan comedy deliver and Lee for her wild and crazy attitude and amazing beatboxing skills hidden behind the super-shy act. John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks are hysterical as a cappella competition commentators and former a cappella group members. The banter between them is hilarious and I love the reveal of Elizabeth Banks' character's a cappella group name - the Minstrel Cycles.
Shortcomings in this film are few, but there are a couple. Those ridiculous bass vocals coming from Chloe after her node removal surgery - absolutely unnecessary and added nothing to the story or the team's vocals for that matter. I also though the storyline to be rather predictable, but I can forgive this because the film was a lot of fun despite the predictability.
Overall, I enjoyed Pitch Perfect and wished I had seen it sooner...and gotten the soundtrack or score for review. Can't wait to see Pitch Perfect 2!