Movies are a wonderful art form. At its best, movies feature clever plots, gorgeous cinematography and mind-blowing, amazing performances.
Pitch Perfect 3 has none of those. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t entertaining.
In the second sequel to the 2012 movie about a female a capella group, the Barden Bellas have graduated, grown up, and ended up grinding away at their day jobs. For some like Beca (Anna Kendrick), even their dream job of being a music producer doesn’t quite measure up to their expectations.
In a last ditch attempt to go out in a blaze of glory and relive their college days, the Bellas reunite for one last tour performing at US Army bases along with some *gasp* bands (with instruments!) and real-life music maker DJ Khaled.
In order to fully appreciate a Pitch Perfect movie, you have to check your brain at the door. This is not a bad thing, because while this fantasy world where a capella groups are more like sports teams is pretty ludicrous, it’s also lots of fun. And in this day and age of political upheaval and fake news, fun is something we sorely need right now.
Real life has bitten the Bellas in the butt, and in this third go-around, the franchise is confident (I hesitate to say “mature”) enough to poke fun at itself more than ever, and is willing to admit that yes, it may not be able to really compete with bands that sing and play instruments.
I really appreciated that the movie delves deeper into a period of life that, for women, doesn’t get examined very often in the media. There’s always coming-of-age stories where the young female protagonist discovers some essential truth about herself or the nature of life via some sort of sexual or romantic awakening. However, there aren’t a lot of movies about women who are not only NOT in competition with each other, but who remain friends who still find comfort in each other’s company despite everything that life throws their way.
With that said, I found the movie unnecessarily silly and contrived. John Lithgow joins the ensemble as Fergus, absent dad to Amy (Rebel Wilson), in a display of one of the worst Australian accents I’ve ever heard onscreen. It’s hard to believe that this was the same actor who won critical praise for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the first season of The Crown (see our review).
In fact, my favourite thing about it was seeing Rebel Wilson in an impressive action sequence that reminded me of Melissa McCarthy’s performance in Spy. I just wish the story didn’t devolve into some pseudo-James Bond nonsense halfway through.
Pitch Perfect 3 may have a wafer-thin plot, jokes that fall flat and mediocre acting, but with a healthy suspension of disbelief, it turns out it’s not really all that bad. Sure, it may be the cinematic equivalent of instant noodles in that it’s not all that good for you if you consume it regularly, but it sure hits the spot when you’re in the mood for some comfort viewing.
Pitch Perfect 3 is showing in cinemas right now!