Tuesday, September 25, 2012

REVIEW: Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect

Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin


September 28, 2012 (LIMITED)
October 5, 2012 (WIDE)

Jason Moore

Universal Pictures,
Gold Circle Films

1 hour 52 minutes



This movie has been advertised as being 'Glee' in college," but that is far from what it really is. 'Pitch Perfect' is the latest musical to come out this year, and just in time for the fall season to kick in. This stars Anna Kendrick, whom teens may know from the 'Twilight' films, but other people may know from '50/50' and from her Oscar nominated role in 'Up in the Air.' In my opinion, she's one of the most talented actresses out there, so one might ask her: "Why Make This Movie?" Nobody asked for this to be made, plus it looks like just any other teen comedy from the trailers. Well it seemed that Universal had hope in the movie by giving audiences to see the film early at "word of mouth" screenings to generate positive buzz for this rather unknown movie. Well there is a reason why Universal wanted to screen this early, and that's because it's a really good movie. No, seriously, this is a really good movie, and I'm not speaking as a 'Glee' fan at all. In fact, this movie can and will be enjoyed by those who like 'Glee' and those who don't. 'Pitch Perfect' is most definitely one of the year's biggest surprises thus far.

Becca is the type of girl who would rather spend her time making mixes to pursue her dream as a DJ rather than go to her College classes and get to know people. However when her father forces her to find an activity to do on the campus to get her away from DJ-ing, but it seems she can't find anything. After a chance encounter in the shower, Becca decides to join the Barton Bellas. The Barton Bellas are one of four singing groups on the college campus; however they have the worst reputation after a stint that made them lose the previous year's national championship. Now the Bellas, which has recruited other new members into the group, including a quiet Asian and a fat Brit, have to find a new strategy to get to the finals, and maybe even win the gold for once.

As crazy as this may sound, there were no weak cast members present throughout the film's duration. Anna Kendrick is good in just about anything, even in the 'Twilight' movies! She had a nice rebellious charm in the film, and she said some pretty great lines. Hell, she even had a surprisingly good singing voice which I found out after the screening was in fact hers. Brittany Snow, who was in films like 'The Pacifier' and 'Hairspray,' was also very likable in the movie. Her character gives some of the cornier lines in the movie, but they are still funny nonetheless. Anna Camp, one of Hilly's friends in 'The Help,' was also really good in the film, playing a villain that she doesn't even notice she was during the first 2/3s of the film. These three leading ladies were good and all, but it was the other members of the Barton Bellas that made this film absolutely hysterical.

Of all of the main supporting players in the film, the most recognizable of them all is British comedian Rebel Wilson. She apparently stole the show in last year's 'Bridesmaids' and has been making her way around the film/TV industry ever since. Her performance in this film, which her character is appropriately named "Fat Amy," without a doubt, stole the show. Wilson has great timing, so it works well from her less than great singing to a scene where she is running "horizontally." Wilson overall just spews out hilarious lines throughout the movie, and has certain situations where she uses great physical humor. Sure she plays the same character in practically everything she's in, but I still laughed a lot at her character, so sue me. Hell, seeing my sister laugh at Fat Amy alone made her my favorite character in the film.

There's also great work from the rest of the Bellas, including a sexually addicted girl and a quiet talking Asian, as well as two small but equally funny performances from John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks as the two judges for the Acapella singing competitions. Even the actors from the rival singing group The Treblemakers (get the pun?) get in some funny moments. However it is clear from the start of the film that the girls are the main comedy points of the film. However one star that shouldn't be left out is the person who wrote the screenplay. Her name is Kay Cannon, and she has written a really good script.

This is Kay Cannon's first screenplay due to her only other work prior was being a writer on the hit NBC series '30 Rock.'  This is definitely different than the Emmy winning TV comedy, but nevertheless it is a well written film. There are jokes in here that just hit hard, and personally made me laughing out loud quite a bit. Sure this film is formalized and predictable, but the amount of retro/1980s references makes this movie unique from any other teen comedy out there. Cannon even incorporates John Hughes' classic teen film 'The Breakfast Club' in such a way that it made me stand up and cheer, because not many teen movies bring John Hughes into their film and use it as a main plot point. Unfortunately the ending of the film was rushed, but that could have been an editing problem rather than the writer's fault. Either way, this film possesses a funny, sweet, unique, and retro script that shows that it wants to be different from all other modern teen comedies.

Like I said in the opening paragraph, this is not a 'Glee' knockoff by any means. The trailers just make it out to be. 'Pitch Perfect' is actually better than 'Glee' in some standards, because it dares to go out of boundaries and covers some fresh territory. The film is hilarious, sweet, and fresh. Every member in the cast is great, with each getting their own moment to shine. The script is funny and well written, which is something to say comparing this to other teen films out there. The film is also well directed for a first time director that's only worked on Broadway prior to this. Sure the film is formulaic and the ending of the film is rushed very quickly, 'Pitch Perfect' is a musical comedy that one might not want to miss. Get ready to get Pitch-Slapped, because this movie will surprise the Aca-shizz out of you.

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