out of Five
Running time: 112
Hugely enjoyable comedy that hits all the right notes, thanks to a razor-sharp script, impressively staged musical numbers and a pair of brilliant comic performances from Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson.
What's it all about?
Directed by Jason Moore, Pitch Perfect stars Anna Kendrick as Beca, a wannabe DJ who's only attending college to keep her professor father (John Benjamin Hickey) happy. When her father tells her he'll allow her to leave university and chase her DJ dreams if she proves to him she can get properly involved with something, she reluctantly joins all-female a cappella group The Bellas, led by projectile-vomit-prone control-freak Aubrey (Anna Camp) and Chloe (Brittany Snow), who forcibly recruits Beca in the shower, after hearing her sing.
With Beca on board and the group containing other less than conventional members such as self-nicknamed Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) and sassy Cynthia-Rose (Ester Dean), The Bellas get down to the business of rehearsing for a competition, where they'll face off against their arch-rivals The Treble Makers, led by the obnoxious Bumper (Adam DeVine). Meanwhile, Beca begins to fall for her fellow volunteer at the college radio station, Jesse (Skylar Astin), only for him to join the Treble Makers and for them both to fall foul of Aubrey's steadfast rule that no Bella can date a Treble Maker.
The performances are excellent: Kendrick makes a likeable lead as Beca, playing her in line with her usual drily cynical, razor sharp screen persona. Astin is equally good as Jesse, sparking passable, if not smoking chemistry with Kendrick, while there's terrific support from both Camp and Snow. However the film is completely stolen by the one-two combination of Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy and Jinhee Joung as whispering Kimmy Jin, whose Vomit Angel moment is flat out hilarious and has to be seen to be believed.
The script crackles with great one-liners and Moore's direction ensures a constant stream of decent laughs, from both verbal gags and sight gags. Similarly, the musical sequences are both infectious and well staged, thanks to some judicious and skilful editing – highlights include the enjoyable audition sequence (Kendrick's turn is inspired) and the film's stand-out scene, a riff-off between rival groups. The finale is also extremely clever, managing to use the competition song in such a way that it contributes to the film's emotional climax (though to reveal how would be to give away one of the best moments).
The only real problem is that two of the film's most promising characters (Ben Platt as Jesse's roommate Benji and Brittany Snow's Chloe, who initially seems to have a crush on Beca) get cruelly sidelined, possibly as a result of securing a more Glee-friendly rating.
With a frequently hilarious script, catchy musical numbers and a host of terrific comic performances, Pitch Perfect is a hugely entertaining comedy that's both emotionally engaging and laugh-out-loud funny. Highly recommended.