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Sunday, 3 July 2016

Weekend TV Movie Review: Pitch Perfect - Channel 4 (2012)

Pitch Perfect
Directed by Jason Moore
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Ester Dean, Elizabeth Banks  
Estimated Worldwide Gross: $116,044,347

Plot: College student Beca (Anna Kendrick) knows that she does not want to be a part of a clique, but that's exactly where she finds herself after arriving at her new school. Thrust in among mean gals, nice gals and just plain weird gals, Beca finds that the only thing they have in common is how well they sing together. She takes the women of the group out of their comfort zone of traditional arrangements & into a world of amazing harmonic combinations in a fight to the top of college music competitions

*This review may contain spoilers*  

'Like A Female Version of Glee, Only Much More Entertaining & Fun'

In one's own view, I must say I was expecting Pitch Perfect to be nothing more than a Glee clone with added female attitude. But alas, I hold my hands up and admit that I was wrong. 

The opening with the boys singing Rihanna's Don't Stop The Music reminds me of Glee. The Barberellas play it safe with Ace of Base's The Sign and unfortunately it didn't go as well as planned. 

The movie is fun and entertaining from beginning to end, with some amusing moments courtesy of Aussie Rebel Wilson. The choice of songs covered in the movie were very good and though the plot is very cliched, it doesn't take away what it is an entertaining musical spectacle. As well as the songs, a good musical-based movie isn't a musical without some added vocal abilities thrown in, and the singing during the pop numbers is rather good. There isn't a bad singer, whatsoever and each one of them has their own style and flavour in terms of delivery, as well as personality-wise. 

The synopsis of Pitch Perfect in many cases mirrors that of Fox show, Glee and reality TV singing shows such as American Idol. And the script is well devised and entertaining. 

Yet there is something about Pitch Perfect that makes it less corny and dare I say it, campy than Glee. Maybe it is the slightly bitchiness of some of the girls that the film borrows from teen comedies, Clueless & Mean Girls

Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy stole the show for me - I find her funny and amusing in a way she conveys her lines in a droll and sarcastic way that makes people laugh. She is like the younger, blonde, less brash Australian version of Melissa McCarthy.

The acting was all right, but nothing too spectacular, although the characters are all different and unique in terms of personality and appearance. It is not a movie where you will find many outstanding acting performances from a number of cast members, or it is set out to win tons of awards but it's a film that keeps you entertained and glued throughout. The balance of comedy is just right and doesn't feel forced or contrived. The comedy element in Pitch Perfect is what sets this film apart from the many other karaoke, singing -based movies that have presided before it; two examples being the shower scene and 2 projectile vomiting scenes. The latter of which did go a step too far & somewhat detracts from the movie's subtle & feel-good vibe. 

I'm not really into the whole musical thing, but when it's done naturally and in a way that doesn't come across as being too cheesy, then i'd say that is an accomplishment. Bringing in contemporary pop songs into the mix making it more relevant and fresh for today's market, was a step in the right direction and is a step that has continued  throughout in the sequels. 

Pitch Perfect is more or less categorised as a standalone chick-flick/teen comedy, but this is a chick flick that appeals to anyone and everyone, especially if you enjoy pop music. If you follow pop/chart music, you will get far more enjoyment out of this film than other people who aren't a fan of pop. 

I will say one thing: the Asian girl of the group was a stereotype of a quiet, shy, model minority Asian person. Did this bother me? Just a little bit. I just wished her characterisation would be a lot better.   

Cynthia Rose is none other than Ester Dean - the songwriter who penned chart-topping songs that include Rihanna's Rude Boy and Katy Perry's Firework.  She also covered one of her hits, S&M in this film and Ester's performance all-round wasn't too bad. 

Final Verdict:

What I liked most about Pitch Perfect was some of the humour and the songs featured in the movie; though where I wished it could be better in places is the main narrative and the acting - some of it was good, some of it was okay but it wasn't spectacular. & still I can tolerate this much more than Glee

The humour was silly, the film contains catty wit and sharp irony that makes it a cut above the one-time Fox musical show. & it's more entertaining and fun.

But the highlight for me was Rebel Wilson: she was the main plucky comic relief, whose antics were amusing. By far she was the scene stealer with her improvisational gags and funny lines; if she hadn't been in this film, Pitch Perfect wouldn't be anywhere near as funny.  

Pitch Perfect may be silly in places, yet when you have a film that has some appealing & diverse set of characters to anchor it, not to mention some good musical moments, then you're onto a winner.

And in many respects, that is precisely where this film succeeds.   


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