When I told the BF yesterday I was heading to the movies, he wanted to know what I was going to see. Then he pulled a sad face when I told him End of Watch, at which point I sighed and said I’d go see something else.
Fortunately for me, Pitch Perfect was released the previous Friday.
Want to know what Pitch Perfect is about? Take one part Bring It On, one part Glee, and throw in all of the Step Up movies. Advance it into a college setting, substitute singing for dancing, and bingo! You’ve got Pitch Perfect.
That makes it sound like I’m belittling the film. I’m not. Seriously. I haven’t been that entertained by a movie in a while.
Beca’s (Anna Kendrick) a freshman at Barden University, a girl who’d rather be mixing tracks than singing them. When Chloe (Brittany Snow), one of the leaders of the Barden Bellas corners Beca in the bathroom after hearing her sing “Titanium”, Beca finds herself roped into a group of newbie singers (all of whom have massive amounts of talent, mind you) who are tasked with the seemingly impossible feat of bringing the Bellas back to Nationals.
Before I go any further, I have to point out that a good choir, nay, an excellent choir, will sound like one voice with many parts. Accomplishing this is difficult. With a capella singing, especially the world of competitive collegiate a capella singing, the group not only has to sound like one voice with many parts, but all the instruments in the song.
Here’s where Pitch Perfect comes off like the Step Up movies. There are musical numbers everywhere. Not necessarily singing and dancing (although that does happen on occasion) but lots and lots of singing. Most of it is kept to the arena (or the auditorium, as it were) because the focus of the story is the Bellas’ long-running feud with the Treblemakers, the reigning national champions and fellow Barden University singers.
So we get to see the Bellas perform the same number three times in competition, where the Treblemakers change it up with every appearance. The only time we ever see them really let go (with the exception of the final show down) is at the riff off, which is basically a rumble with harmonies. Sounds horribly cheesy, but somehow they managed to pull it off. Beca’s rendition of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” might have had something to do with that.
As you might expect, the soundtrack is covered in awesomesauce, in more ways than one. Beca the DJ puts together some wicked, wicked mixes, and the beats are sick. Whoever they got to do those mash-ups knows what they’re doing. Alas, they don’t appear anywhere on the soundtrack (I just checked Amazon), which is a crying shame.
Sure, there’s more to the plot than just the singing (something about Beca being closed off and unwilling to let anyone get close to her) but frankly, it was all sort of just blah blah blibbity blah next to the music. The acting is decent, though nothing outstanding. Except Rebel Wilson, as Fat Amy, almost runs away with the show a few times. Really, the whole reason to see the film is for the singing. Whether the actors were lip syncing or not, it doesn’t matter. The vocals were crisp, the harmonies tight, and the arrangements fun and entertaining. If you’re a former choir geek, I’d say Pitch Perfect is mandatory viewing.
The clip below is the riff off scene (although for some reason, they muted all the dialogue. Whatever. The singing is the important part. Enjoy!)