Pitch Perfect

Review No. 418

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The Bottom Line: Here goes the tiresome pun: a-ca-could not stand this movie!

Directed by: Jason Moore
Screenplay by: Kay Cannon
Based on: “Pitch Perfect” by Mickey Rapkin
Beca Mitchell: Anna Kendrick
Jesse Swanson: Skylar Astin
Aubrey Posen: Anna Camp
Chloe Beale: Brittany Snow
Fat Amy: Rebel Wilson
Benji Applebaum: Ben Platt
Lily Onakuramara: Hana Mae Lee
Cynthia-Rose: Ester Dean
Bumper Allen: Adam DeVine
Stacie Conrad: Alexis Knapp
Luke: Freddie Stroma
Also Starring: Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Elizabeth Banks, Jinhee Joung, John Benjamin Hickey, John Michael Higgins, Utkarsh Ambudkar

Distributed by Universal Pictures on September 28, 2012. Produced in English by the United States. Runs 112 mins. Rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sexual material, language and drug references.

Pitch Perfect was watched on February 13, 2013.

“A cappella with sock puppets? Genius!” –Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson)

Pitch Perfect wants to accumulate any slight notion of its sheer lack of originality—and lock it all up in a straitjacket. It sounds harsh, but I, quite frankly, would easily choose a straitjacket over revisiting this film.

Although the formula is all too obvious for those who know formula by the dictionary definition, this barely manages to evade a “have I seen that before?” (chances are, you have!) from a generic audience.

Pitch Perfect alludes to John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club so many times. It’s only obvious that’s what it’s emulating. We are told from a film geek in the movie something you’ve likely heard already: that classic holds one of the most unforgettable endings ever seen on film. Yet even when the main character, Beca (Anna Kendrick), finally gives in and decides to watch the entire thing on her computer, all we see are the final shots, moving into the credits sequence.

Why? It’s easy, if you’ve seen the movie: if you show just about anything that leads into those shots, you’ll have an audience that realizes the climactic scenes in The Breakfast Club are an exact match with those in the far inferior Pitch Perfect.

The look of horror on your face when you discover you chose this over something like...I don't know, maybe The Breakfast Club?

The look of horror on your face when you discover you chose this over something like…I don’t know, maybe The Breakfast Club?

I could come up with dozens of adjectives for Pitch Perfect right off the top of my head. It’s unoriginal, trite, obnoxious, corny, stultifying…the list doesn’t stop for quite a while.

But let’s say all that just like one of the several overacted drama queens in the film: it’s a-ca-unoriginal, a-ca-trite, a-ca-obnoxious, a-ca-corny, and a-ca-stultifying. It’s just not that easy to pun on the term “a cappella,” and once you’ve brought it to the table once or twice, it’s already extremely tiresome. Could somebody please say, “a-ca-unfunny”?

While watching Pitch Perfect, I found myself groaning quite a bit. This is okay in certain cases. I groaned during the scenes in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore whenever the chatterbox kid went on his meaningless, utterly annoying ramblings. But that one’s a great movie, and at least the kid had a personality that was exaggerated for a decent reason.

It’s entirely different in a bomb like Pitch Perfect, which fits its title as well as Steven Tyler fits the title “handsome.” It’s apparent that I was supposed to be laughing. The film is a comedy, or so it thinks. I’ve seen just about every “comedy” permutation from the screwball comedy to the black comedy, and I must say, Pitch Perfect has a sparse sense of humor.

Pitch Perfect isn’t entirely unendurable. I must say, I do enjoy Anna Kendrick’s voice. It’s quite dynamic, in my humble opinion, despite her proven subpar acting abilities. I have a feeling she may have been lip-syncing, but if so, I’d rather not know.

The problem is, she’s given the worst selections to sing. It’s not that I’m not a fan of modern music (though I do prefer the classics), so much as the a cappella arrangements for these songs are hideous. Lily Allen’s “F— You” and La Roux’s “Bulletproof” just don’t have the same effect when they’re butchered so mindlessly; I dare say the instrumentals in such songs are just as important as the vocals.

I’m cutting the film slack with a D-plus. Again, parts were tolerable, but none memorable. In the words of Dr. Seuss—a much more engaging writer than the practically unknown one behind this, might I add—“I do not like it, not one little bit.”

D PLUS

Flight

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  1. Good review. The cast was good, but the screenplay tries so, so damn hard to make us laugh that it just got annoying. Still, Rebel Wilson saved this movie from an untimely death.

    • I didn’t really care for Rebel Wilson either. Everyone seems to think she stole every scene she was in (which basically WAS every scene), but she didn’t make me laugh any more than the rest of the movie (which was not at all).

  2. I thought this was really delightful: http://fastfilmreviews.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/pitch-perfect/

    I even know a few people who enjoyed it enough to put it in their year-end Top 10. I wouldn’t do that, but it brought a smile to my face.

    • I actually put it as my #10 worst of the year (I have to update it though, after recently seeing One for the Money, which obviously takes #1).

      I did leave a comment on your review, the same day I commented on Flight, actually.





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