PITCH PERFECT: “Hits All the Right Notes”

Anna Kendrick as Beca
Brittany Snow as Chloe
Anna Camp as Aubrey
Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy
Alexis Knapp as Stacie
Ester Dean as Cynthia Rose
Hana Mae Lee as Lilly
Adam DeVine as Bumper
In Theaters Everywhere October 5

“Glee” goes to college in this hilarious comedy about the competitive world of a capella singing groups.

“The Bellas” is an all-girl a capella singing group at Barden University.  It is a finely honed group that competes fiercely with other collegiate a capella groups, and against its all-male rival from Barden, “The Treble Makers,” headed by Bumper (DeVine). At the Nationals competition, pressure gets to the Bellas’ leader Aubrey (Camp), who has an unfortunate on stage incident which destroys the Bellas’ chances of winning that year.

At the beginning of the new school year, Aubrey is determined to get past her embarrassment and rebuild a new team, since most of the previous Bellas have graduated.  Her eyes are firmly on the prize to make it back to Nationals and to win.  Enter freshman Beca (Kendrick).

A capella is the furthest thing from Beca’s mind. Beca has her heart set on being a DJ. The only music she is interested in is the mixes and mash-ups that she creates. Encouraged by her father to participate in at least one club on campus, she contemplates her choices. After a “Mean Girl” confrontation with Aubrey, Beca writes off auditioning for the Bellas. It’s not until Aubrey’s co-captain, Chloe (Snow), overhears Beca singing in the shower and pleads with her to audition, that she reconsiders.

Traditionally, the Bellas had a standard look: pert and polished, all the same height, all hot, all thin and all White. Much to Aubrey’s chagrin, the girls who made the cut are anything but! Fat Amy (Wilson) is overweight, Cynthia Rose (Dean) is a large Black lesbian, Stacie (Knapp) is tall skinny and large breasted, and Lilly (Lee) is a soft spoken yet creepy Asian, for example.

Aubrey is determined to whip these girls into shape and make them the best a capella team in competition, but Aubrey lacks vision. The Bellas have a tired repertoire of out dated, yawn inducing songs that everyone, including the judges, is fed up with hearing. Still, Aubrey is adamant that the Bellas stay the course of tradition. Beca and Chloe try to get Aubrey to loosen up and try something new, but Aubrey won’t budge. For the Bellas to have any chance of getting to nationals and defeating their competition, they are going to have to come up with a killer set and learn to work together like a well-oiled musical machine.

“Pitch Perfect” is like “Glee” grows up and goes to college, and it’s much, much more funny!  If you’re not a choir geek or a “Gleek,” or you just don’t like music, this movie might be torture for you.  If you live for Glee, this is your movie!

Anna Camp’s Aubrey is such an uptight control freak, watching her almost gave me a nosebleed. Hanna Mae Lee is a stitch as the soft spoken, but oh so creepy Lily. Lily barely speaks above a whisper, but when she does, she drops gems like, “I like to burn things” or “I ate my twin in the womb.”  The biggest personality (pun intended) out of the entire group is Rebel Wilson’s Fat Amy. She is lovely, large and in charge of her own world; everyone else just lives in it. As she introduced herself to Aubrey as Fat Amy, Aubrey countered, “You call yourself Fat Amy?”  Rebel replied, “Yeah, so twig bitches like you don’t do it behind my back.” Rebel totally walks off with the film in almost every scene she’s in – she is priceless!

The tunes fly fast and furious here from old jams like “Turn the Beat Around” to new jams like “Price Tag” to 80s favorites like “Don’t You Forget About Me.” At one point, all of the a capella groups on campus have a “riff off,” not unlike the “Zoolander” walk off, where they all get together and have a singing battle. It’s here that Beca starts to let her musical diversity shine by kicking out a rendition of “No Diggity” by Blackstreet.

Everyone does their own singing. That’s no surprise to me coming from Anna Kendrick, whom I first saw in the film “Camp,” but everyone else I know from other things.  Adam DeVine from “Workaholics,” makes his film debut as the cocky leader of the rival Barden College male group, “The Treble Makers.” I scarcely recognized Anna Camp from her role as Sarah Newlin in “True Blood,” or as Bethany from season 4 of “Mad Men,” but she has also done an episode of “Glee.”

For those of you still trying to wrap your minds around this, think of “Pitch Perfect” as the musical version of “Bring It On” or “Dodgeball.” This blend of musical misfits is not afraid to bring in the harmonious noise and back it up with a little funk, and I bet you’ll be singing along and rooting for them to make it to Nationals.

“Pitch Perfect” makes all the right moves and hits all the right notes; it’s loads of fun, and a great time. Don’t miss it. Can I get a “what, what” from all my choir people?

5 out of 5 stars.

Check out the trailer for “Pitch Perfect” below:

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