This review first appeared in the Sunday Star Times, 7th October 2012
Riding on the seemingly endless Bridesmaids bandwagon, Pitch Perfect adopts a similar pose on its poster and is to be commended for, at the very least, perpetuating the relatively new Hollywood trait of the female-heavy cast.
Anna Kendrick’s sullen Beca, all cleavage and tattoos, turns up at her new college laden with DJ equipment and eye-linered attitude. Preferring to get involved at the student radio station, she does her time filing CDs with another musical keenie, the clean-cut and unrealistically forward Jesse (Skylar Astin). When Beca is coerced into joining the all-girl a cappella singing group, competition heats up against the rival boys’ team.
Kendrick was meant to be one of the best things in the redundancy dram-com Up in the Air, but she ain’t no Emma Stone. Despite their individual qualities, the main couple are a chemistry-free zone, and the simplistic narrative doesn’t give them much to work with. However, reminiscent of the Step Up franchise, this movie is about the music – and without exception, every single character can sing, rap or holler up a storm. The spontaneous riff-offs are exhilarating, and your feet will be tapping despite themselves.
The script rolls out the usual character cliches – we have Fat Amy (Australian comedienne Rebel Wilson, more than holding her own as she steals most of the scenes), and the characterisation of racial minorities may cause some viewers to squirm – but this is all part and parcel of the brave new world of having girls be just as obnoxious as boys, if they wanna. At least this film eschews poop jokes for puke.