Monday, October 1, 2012

Singing praises about "Pitch Perfect"

It has been an incredibly long time since I enjoyed a movie as much as I did “Pitch Perfect.”
The movie belongs to the genre of group competition which typically involves rival females and includes such works as “Bring it On” and “The House Bunny”. Those entries examined the world of competitive cheerleading and sorority houses and are two of the most enjoyable. “Pitch Perfect” is set in the world of a cappella singing and is bursting with humor and charm. Anna Kendrick stars as Beca, a college freshman pursuing a future in music production. While attending the activities fair at college, she is asked by Chloe (Brittany Snow) and Aubrey (Anna Camp) to audition for their a cappella group. The group had several members leave following a disastrous onstage incident at last year’s finals competition. Beca and several other vocalists join the group and begin preparing for redemption at this year’s competition. Yes, the movie has the standard rivalry within the group, the newcomer who needs to gain acceptance, a climactic competition and a college romance, but it feels fresh and lively thanks to a strong screenplay full of clever and funny one-liners, enjoyable music numbers and great performances by Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and the always wonderful Snow. Kendrick has the difficult task of transitioning from a reserved introvert, to being a major stage presence and a strong driving force in her a cappella group. Elizabeth Banks (who is one of the film’s producers) has a terrific supporting role as a crass, wisecracking announcer. “Pitch Perfect” expertly weaves the scenes of musical numbers into the story so the music never overshadows the story of the group and doesn’t alienate viewers who aren’t fans of singing competitions. It would be a mistake for people who don’t like “Glee” to dismiss this film as being just about singing. The singing of course is part of “Pitch Perfect”, but I would recommend this film to anyone who likes good comedies and having a great time at the movies. Not every joke works, but most do and the movie is consistently funny and entertaining. The members of the group all work well together and elicit our support and affection. There are a few false notes (this review had to have at least one musical pun), mostly involving Beca’s relationship with her almost boyfriend, but their storyline builds to one of the movie’s sweetest and most satisfying moments. Roger Ebert said of “A Prairie Home Companion” it’s a film so sweet you want to cuddle with it. Pardon me for pouring on the cheese, but I think “Pitch Perfect” is like a warm, snuggly blanket or that rare sunny day after a long stretch of rain. I watch many movies, but very few find their way into my DVD collection. “Pitch Perfect” is one I’ll definitely be adding.