Directed by Jason Moore and loosely adapted from the novel of the same name by Mickey Rapkin, Pitch Perfect follows Beca (Anna Kendrick), a freshman at Barden University who is tempted into joining her school’s all-girl a cappella group The Bellas, which includes the popular faces of Brittany Snow, Anna Camp and Rebel Wilson. Whilst Beca attempts to modernise and inject some much-needed energy into the group, The Bellas must take on their male rivals, the Treblemakers, in a campus competition.
With screenplay by Kay Cannon, the idea of the Pitch Perfect novel came from the senior editor at GQ magazine when he followed a group of a capella groups in America and wrote about their singing, groupies, partying and rivalries that were all part of the experience. I have a feeling the article would have read a lot better than how it comes to life on-screen, however. The story was one that always intrigued me, as a journalist myself I was interested to see what goes on off stage and out of class, the side of a musical group that we don’t get to see in Glee. Sadly that isn’t what Pitch Perfect is about at all, and whatever you think about the film, it is still very much Glee.
This isn’t exactly a negative. I’m a big fan of the TV show and this is still a film I enjoy despite it not going anywhere further than the classroom (I’m aware it does venture outside, of course, but the situations are still all very much high-school related). Moreso, I was hoping it wouldn’t be as Americanly clichéd or as pathetically sentimental, but it really was. The point where the cast sit down in a circle to talk about their feelings made my stomach churn, and then the stomach churning scenes themselves (who snow angels in a pile of sick?!) would have been the point where I walked out at the cinema if it wasn’t for the amazing musical performances.
There was a huge part of me that was disappointed by Pitch Perfect, as you can read, but it wasn’t that I hated it or even disliked it, it’s just that it wasn’t anything special. It didn’t go beyond an American high school drama, as we follow a girl who is looking to come out of a shell and a handsome male that helps her to do so. I had hoped there would have been more to it, but the story line took a back seat to make room for a focus on many great sing-offs instead.
Fortunately, there was a lot of greatness around these small flaws which enabled the film to get away with them for the most part. Full of great performances, brilliant mash-ups and excellent singing from its cast, this film is entertaining from start to finish. With songs including David Guetta’s Titanium, Blackstreet’s No Diggity, and La Roux’s Bulletproof, it really is all about the music (and I’m not going to lie, The Breakfast Club references also turned it in my favour!).
The film’s biggest quality, however, is its excellent cast. I’ve only recently started coming around to Anna Kendrick since her role in Twilight, but she really suits her role in this film alongside a very funny Rebel Wilson. The whole cast is fantastic, though, with comical supporting roles from Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, too.
This really is a film worth watching, if only for its decent cast and great musical sequences, even if you don’t like Glee. Nevertheless, I’m still not quite sure what all the appraisal is for, but don’t let that put you off.