I'm a postgraduate Media and Communications student at City University London from the United States. Check out my blog at: www.gerimasteringlondon.blogspot.com
Published December 10th 2012
Plenty of laughs in a film about musical rivalry
What do you get when you combine the immature laugh-out-loud humour of Bridesmaids with the off-beat, musical teen comedy style of Glee? The answer: Pitch Perfect, a new American comedy about the quirky and cut-throat world of competitive college a capella.
Pitch Perfect- Promotional Poster
For those who don't know, a capella groups specialise in making music with their mouths. No instruments, no back-up tracks-- only vocalisations, which are used to create beats, harmonies, sound effects, and dynamic song performances. Although some may view joining an cappella group as a cute hobby, at Barden University in Pitch Perfect, this activity is taken very seriously.
The film chronicles a comically intense rivalry between the Bellas, the University's only all-female a capella group, and the Treble Makers, the cocky award-winning male group on campus. The Bellas shake things up by accepting new members who don't fit into their traditional thin-and-beautiful mould, and a new member named Beca (Anna Kendrick) uses her passion for music producing to help the group find some much-needed style.
The screenplay, written by Kay Cannon and loosely adapted from a book by Mickey Rapkin, is full of hilarious one-liners and ridiculous moments that really make the film shine. Rebel Wilson is brilliant as 'Fat Amy' (who calls herself Fat Amy so skinny girls can't do it behind her back), and her quirky character is the highlight of the film. All the characters are likable in their own odd ways, and the musical numbers are fun and entertaining.
While some of Pitch Perfect's comedic moments are terrific, other aspects of the film struggle to achieve greatness. The story is full of borderline offensive racial stereotypes-- the unfriendly group of Asians, the black lesbian, etc.-- and although politically incorrect humour is often funny, the film is a little too reliant on exploiting stereotypes for laughs. The plot can also be a bit disorganised, with subplots that fade in and out without ever being fully explored. While most of the dialogue is witty and hilarious, the film also has some cringe-worthy moments that are a little more uncomfortable than they are funny, like the weird Asian girl making snow angels in a pile of throw-up.
But it would be a mistake to judge this film too harshly. Pitch Perfect doesn't take itself too seriously, and the fun of the film comes from allowing yourself not to take it too seriously either. It's much more fun to laugh, hum, and dance along, taking it for what it's worth and fully enjoying yourself along the way.