Movie Review: ‘Pitch Perfect 3’


Director: Trish Sie

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Hana Mae Lee, Alexis Knapp, John Michael Higgins, Elizabeth Banks, John Lithgow, Ruby Rose, DJ Khaled

Plot: The Barden Bellas have moved on from college and need to find more contrived reasons to perform musical numbers.

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Review: I’ve never talked much about the Pitch Perfect movies because, well, up until a week ago I hadn’t seen any of them. Although my publication history shows that I spend most of my time watching violent horror and superhero movies I do have a love of musicals and wish we had more of them on our screens. Pitch Perfect isn’t exactly a musical in the classic sense, but I’m never going to criticise them because it’ll be like kicking a kitten. They’re fluffy, genuinely funny and have catchy musical numbers. The story are basic and mostly filler, but they’re fun to run in the background and just watch the performance scenes.

After the first film landed the popularity warranted a sequel with a third commissioned before the second even hit screens. The problem here is one of diminishing returns. The story and character arcs have reached the point of being downright silly and it’s clear that not everyone is putting their heart in it any more.

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A few years have passed and the Bellas have graduated college and are starting on their new lives. Beca (Kendrick) is a music producer but is frustrated working with egotistical ‘talent’ while Fat Amy (Wilson) is unemployed and crashing at her house. They reunite for a show by the new generation of Barden Bellas and find they all miss performing, so they join a USO tour and travel Europe performing at military bases while competing to become the opening act for DJ Khaled. On their way Beca must decide if her future is in producing or performing and Fat Amy reunites with he estranged, former gangster father (Lithgow).

Once again the script likes to poke fun at the ridiculousness of the premise, but in this case it falls a but flat. The Bellas try to initiate a ‘Riff-Off’ with the bands they’re touring with and it doesn’t work the way they expect because they’re bands and they want to use their instruments. Sometimes pointing out that the premise doesn’t work just highlights that…the premise doesn’t work. It’s fine when a character points out that a scene is just exposition but building an extended song medley around it makes things awkward. The only good part of these scenes is Ruby Rose and her natural stage presence really nailing a couple of tracks.

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By the time the plot wraps up there’s explosions, car chases and other strangeness, and much of the film relies on Rebel Wilson’s awkward humour to carry key scenes. The film-makers haven’t tried to make it anything more than a reason to strong together the musical scenes. Crowbarring in Higgins and Banks as the commentators now making a documentary makes no sense, but they’re just looking to tick the boxes and get things wrapped up.

This finale to the pop-culture series is the weakest in the trilogy. Director Trish Sie brings her experience working with OKGO to the forefront of the musical numbers but little else. I said at the top I’m not going to claim that the films aren’t fun or that I don’t enjoy them, but as a film…you wouldn’t miss much if you just find a compilation of the songs sequences.

Rating: FIVE out of TEN

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