Take Glee, Bring it On and Bridesmaids, mix together, sprinkle liberally with cheese, and serve up to a receptive audience. Pitch Perfect is a recipe for fun. The story concerns the competitive world of collegiate a cappella groups. Pretty young Beca is a guarded cynic who would rather produce a tune than sing one. Having just entered college, she is newly recruited by an all girl a cappella group desperate for new members who can harmonize.
Pitch Perfect is greatly assisted by a talented cast. A few are worth a special mention. Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins are two ESPN style announcers that give play by play announcements interspersed throughout the a cappella singing competitions. Their witticisms from the broadcasting booth are side splittingly hilarious. In many cases, some of the biggest laughs. The only person who surpasses them is comedian Rebel Wilson, a zaftig Aussie who actually refers to herself as Fat Amy. As one of the girl vocalists she has an off kilter personality that makes her kind of a uniquely unexpected individual.
Of course the bread and butter of this diversion are the bright song selections that are enthusiastically arranged and passionately sung. The best performance is a “riff-off” between the boys and the girls, a rumble in the streets that uses superior vocals to beat down their opponents instead of guns and knives. It has a spontaneity that the official competitions lack. Unfortunately it only goes back and forth a couple times and then it’s over. What a shame that the segment is so short because it’s easily the most exhilarating sequence in the script. The drama hints at a plucky repartee that could have been sustained for the entire film.
Pitch Perfect is a crowd pleaser in the best sense of the word. Even if you have only a slight interest in hearing a cappella singing, this should make you very happy. Anyone on the edge of their seat wondering how this is all going to play out would have to be under the age of 10. The storyline is pretty basic. Yet it’s helped immeasurably by an attractive cast with likable personas. Sure there’s the standard archetypes: the bitchy blonde, the slutty brunette, the sensitive heartthrob, etc. But they’re undeniably appealing. These characters have just enough modification to make them interesting. On the whole, the production is a spirited joy.