D: Jason Moore. DP: Julio Macat. W: Kay Cannon (Based on the book by Mickey Rapkin.) Starring: Anna Kendrick/Skylar Astin/Ben Platt/Brittany Snow/Anna Camp/Rebel Wilson/Adam DeVine/Alexis Knapp/Ester Dean/Hana Mae Lee/Elizabeth Banks/John Michael Higgins/Freddie Stroma/John Benjamin Hickey/Christopher Mintz-Plasse/Jacob Wysocki.
For those of you unaware of the acapella sensation finally sweeping our country, let me be the first to congratulate you on the rocky cave that you have built and are living in. Let’s hope it is cozy, for your sake. If you have been paying attention, whether it’s Fox’s obnoxious television series Glee or NBC’s underrated competition show The Sing Off or your basic college experience 101, then you are primed for Universal’s Pitch Perfect.
Bright, quick-paced, and embracing moments of sheer crazed college fun, Pitch Perfect is right on the mark. Yes it has moments that steal a bit from last year’s Bridesmaids, but in the end I can promise you that you won’t care. The film was helmed by female television writer (GASP), Kay Cannon, and directed by television director, Jason Moore. This team was in clear command of the pace of their story, while also allowing their characters to breathe and establish themselves.
Anna Kendrick, known from her work in the Twilight films, 2011’s 50/50, and 2010’s Up in the Air, takes on the lead role of Beca. Craving a Los Angeles’ music adventure rather than college, Kendrick’s Beca reluctantly enrolls at the college that also employs her father. Encouraged and somewhat forced to become more involved in school, Kendrick ends up auditioning for the all girls college acapella group. In sad disarray, the Barton Bellas act like a mini sorority (mostly the negative aspects of those organizations). However, thankfully, Kendrick is quirky and normal enough to be compelling and threads the film together effortlessly. Anna Camp and Brittany Snow do well supporting Kendrick in their roles as the Bellas leaders. Both have decent voices, and lets remember not everyone on an acapella team has to be a Kelly Clarkson.
However, the star of the Bellas ends up being Rebel Wilson. Embracing her true Aussie status, Wilson pulls back at the right moments and lets loose when it’s needed. Her singing moments specifically stand out. Balancing out the Bellas are the all boys team, The Treblemakers. I know, I love the names too. Leading the pack is some dude named Bumper (Adam DeVine), whose as annoying as his name implies. Thankfully, Broadway’s Spring Awakening alum, Skylar Astin steps in as a new member and “friend who wants more” interest for Kendrick. Astin’s Jesse has a tremendous voice and is written well enough not to feel flat against all the pop of the film.
Stealing some scenes is producer Elizabeth Banks and her co-host John Michael Higgins. Acting as journalists covering all the acapella competitions, the two have some of the most memorable lines and clearly embrace the fun and humor of the film. Between this pair and the music, no one will be able to leave the theater without a grin on their face. And that is just what Pitch Perfect aims to do. It lightens your load, without pretending to do anything else.