“Pitch Perfect” Review
As we are all aware, there are only three types of people worse than a cappella groups — nazis, al qaeda and the westboro baptist freaks. Nothing gets people as angry as a bunch of dorks harmonizing American Idol or X-Factor karaoke songs with huge grins plastered across their smug fucking faces! It is quite literally worse torture than being waterboarded with corked wine. So, I have to give “Pitch Perfect” some credit for not making me want to carve my soul into bite-sized chunks with a rusty spoon.
The relentlessly adorable Anna Kendrick plays the lead who tries out, against her will, for a collegiate a cappella group fronted by an unimaginative and very strict girl who takes an immediate dislike to her. Their routines are boring and they always lose to the Treble Makers, their all-male rivals on campus. The film follows the formulaic path through qualifications, regionals and the National Championship.
There are a few things worth mentioning about “Pitch Perfect”. Many of the gags work well. The tone and pace of the film make it an easy watch. Many of the girls are insanely hot. Some of the characters are memorable. And Anna Kendrick’s performance is really nice. She carries the movie.
Unfortunately, there are easily as many bad things to note. Many of the gags are killed with repetitiveness. It stumbles from time to time with cheap, crass vomit humor — a low-brow level of comedy that feels out of place here. Cliches arrive thick and fast. The “Glee” error of overtly including a token black girl, a token lesbian (2 for 1 in this case), a token Asian girl, a predictable stick in the mud “bad girl” etc. It all feels very forced and by-the-numbers. The sidebar romance is also utterly unnecessary and not remotely believable. There is no chemistry and the guy might as well be played by dryer lint, as he has no personality whatsoever.
“Pitch Perfect” makes the typical and egregious error of trying to combine wacky comedy with heartfelt emotions. They do not go well together… and yet, many modern comedies try to mix them. I do not want to see goofy humor followed by serious speeches about why parents get divorced or why certain characters are so guarded that they won’t allow love in their lives. It is tantamount to having a water balloon fight at the end of “Schindler’s List”.
This movie works best when it is lampooning the cheesy world of group karaoke, delivering silly characters and dumb jokes. It works worst when it tries to make us care. All in all, it is a very mixed bag that just falls short of a passing grade, but manages to remain ever so slightly watchable despite the horrid music.