Rebel Wilson And Anna Kendrick Make ‘Pitch Perfect’ Just That
Published: Sunday, October 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Quirky and cute, Pitch Perfect is a lighthearted musical comedy with a lovable cast. Although Rebel Wilson—Kristen Wiig’s odd roommate from Bridesmaids—is one of the main characters, the humor does not possess the comedic genius of Bridesmaids. That being said, it is still a refreshing comedy with a wonderful message: It’s okay to be you.
The movie’s main character, Beca (Anna Kendrick), begins college at the school where her father works. As the brooding outcast, Beca has aspirations to be a DJ, but is forced by her father to at least college a try. The alternative outsider is a role that at times seems to overwhelm Kendrick, as her biting attitude can be off-putting with a script that doesn’t highlight her wit or humor as her previous supporting roles have. Nonetheless, Kendrick wins the audience over with her singing voice, which is surprisingly good, and her desire to become a DJ in Los Angeles weighs her down less and less as the movie progresses.
Beca ends up joining an a cappella group called the Bellas while walking through her school’s activities fair, not dissimilar from the one held on Linden Lane each September at Boston College. Beca, a loner with a passion for music, is just the ingredient the group needs. The Bellas are still recovering from a mortifying end to their previous season in which their soloist projectile vomited during the entire audience. A theme of vomit-related humor continues throughout the movie—producing many a cringe-worthy moment—but is thankfully abandoned in the face of more quick and dry humor, much of which is provided by a familiar face to audience members.
Beca brings Rebel Wilson’s character, who asks to go by “Fat Amy,” along for the ride as a new member of the Bellas. Although many will be sad to learn that the Mexican Drinking Worm she so proudly sported in last year’s Bridesmaids makes no appearance in the film, her humor is on point as she provides the most laughs by far out of anyone in the film. She steals every scene she is in and gives the audience someone to cheer on when other characters seem to dry out.
With Beca’s help, the Bellas transform into a hip, entertaining group that can compete with the boys’ a cappella group at their school. Instead of singing predictable songs from a much older generation while sporting uniforms similar to flight attendants on American Airlines, the group performs new renditions of modern, relevant songs. The perfectionist Aubrey, played by Anna Camp, is at first uncomfortable with the changes Beca brings, but soon fully embraces the group’s rebirth. The Bellas become a force to be reckoned with—the film benefits from strength in numbers, and it is clear that both the film and the group suffer when Kendrick is absent from the performances.
The movie’s overwhelming positive response, while partially because of the comedic chops of the film’s standouts, also comes from the fantastic music in the movie. Even those strictly opposed to enjoying a cappella music (though few and far between) will enjoy the film’s take on many popular hits, including “Give Me Everything” and “Party in the U.S.A.” Complaints about the music in the film only arise from the overwhelming feeling afterwards that the movie did not have nearly enough music. There is no questioning the cast’s musical capabilities, with Broadway veterans Skyler Astin and Camp in strong supporting roles. Astin, who loyal audiences will recognize from Broadway’s Spring Awakening and the film Hamlet 2, steps in as Beca’s love interest. Their romance, though aesthetically pleasing, is pretty uncomfortable to watch and makes you long for the onscreen musical chemistry of Danny and Sandra Dee or Troy and Gabriella.
What is ultimately compelling about films like Pitch Perfect is the celebration of the nerds. Nerds make the world go ’round, and too often Hollywood puts them down or stereotypes them into helpless and submissive roles. It is nice, for once, to see the nerds triumph as confident, powerful, and capable of love.