Not quite ‘Pitch Perfect,’ but still lots of fun

Published 11:39 am Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fans of the TV show “Glee” have reason to smile this week with the release of “Pitch Perfect,” a music-filled comedy about a misfit bunch of college a cappella singers. I understand that the filmmakers are trying to downplay the similarities between this movie and the popular TV show, but it seems pointless to deny that they will both appeal primarily to the same fan base.

Anna Kendrick stars as Beca, a young woman who wants to drop out of college and pursue her dreams of producing music in Los Angeles. Her father persuades her to give college one more shot, and asks her to join an extracurricular group. Beca reluctantly agrees and joins the Bellas, an all-girl a cappella group that is desperate for members after their lead singer vomited on stage at the last championship competition.

Beca is something of an iconoclast, so she clashes with the group’s straight-laced leader over their musical style. I don’t think that I’m spoiling anything to say that Beca’s new ideas give the Bellas new life and propel them back into competition where they square off against their rivals, the all-male group known as the Treble Makers.

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Once again, speaking primarily to those “Glee” fans, “Pitch Perfect” is a lot of fun to watch. The musical sequences should get your toes tapping, although not all of them are true showstoppers. That’s a bit disappointing given that the film’s director has his roots in Broadway musicals, but there’s certainly enough music mash up goodness to keep audiences smiling.

The comedy, on the other hand, is top drawer all the way through. Most of the credit goes to Rebel Wilson’s breakout performance as Fat Amy. She refers to herself as Fat Amy because she knows that all the skinny girls will call her fat behind her back, so she simply owns the moniker with hilarious results. Wilson steals almost every scene here and gives “Pitch Perfect” the edge it needs to not be just another musical competition movie.

The rest of the cast is serviceable, but pales in comparison. Anna Kendrick is a fine actress, but she’s not the performer who readily springs to mind when you’re looking to cast an edgy outsider. Some of the other actors have some fun moments, with John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks in particular scoring big laughs as TV commentators at the big a cappella completion.

The bottom line is that “Pitch Perfect” is rather entertaining, with plentiful musical numbers and some solid comedic performances. The backstage drama and the film’s tepid romantic subplot feel shallow, but audiences should be able to easily overlook these aspects in favor of the film’s stronger elements. It may not be quite pitch perfect, but the film is certainly entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny—especially if you’re a fan of “Glee.”

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM-TV and KBOI 2-TV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at