PITCH PERFECT (review)
Written by Kay Cannon
Directed by Jason Moore
Starring Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Skyler Astin and Anna Camp
Aubrey: Aca-scuse me?
Despite its best efforts to differentiate itself from “Glee”, PITCH PERFECT is not that much more than a blatant attempt to capitalize on the success that show has enjoyed bringing show choir to the masses. Without ever saying the word, “glee” once, one of the inevitably geeky-ish a cappella singers decrees at one point early on that collegiate competitive a cappella singing is not like high school, where you sing through whatever emotional or identity crisis you’re going through. No, no; in fact, this is some serious stuff here. All the same, as these boys and girls sing their way through finding acceptance and make their way toward regionals and subsequently, finals, I coudln’t help but wonder when Rachel Berry was going to storm into the choir room and whip them all into shape. Unfortunately, she never arrived.
This is not to say that PITCH PERFECT doesn’t deliver any of the gooey good times that come with any piece featuring young people who find happiness in song and dance. It’s just that its pitch never comes anywhere near perfect. Anna Kendrick leads the charge, for the first time in her career actually, and, after seeing her play such sophisticated, adult characters in the past (50/50, UP IN THE AIR), watching her regress into a character that is actually more her age feels somewhat forced and beneath her. This is especially true here because the film is so formulaic and predictable. It calls itself out on that one too, as if that is supposed to excuse it for not trying to be original. Still, Kendrick, along with standouts, Brittany Snow (BRIDESMAIDS) and Anna Camp (THE HELP), bring everything they have to their characters and provide PITCH PERFECT with scattered moments of hilarity and tenderness.
Cute is the only word I can truly use to describe PITCH PERFECT. These days, calling something cute though is something of a double-edged sword. Yes, it made me giggle and I may start adding “aca” as a prefix ahead of all the aca-awesome things I say on a regular basis. That said though, cute also implies that the film tries really hard but never quite gets it right, like giving a little pat on the head to a toddler who did his best at a dance recital when you know they will never really make it anywhere in the field. These young folks sing their little hearts out, occasionally hitting notes you don’t see coming, but never belt it out of the park. It all just fell a little flat for me.
How many sheep would you give Pitch Perfect?