Francesca Rudkin

Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: Pitch Perfect

3 comments
Rebel Wilson is a stand-out in Pitch Perfect. Photo / Supplied
Rebel Wilson is a stand-out in Pitch Perfect. Photo / Supplied

I had high hopes for this comedy as it was written by Kay Cannon, whose CV includes writing and producing credits on television shows 30 Rock and New Girl, and I wasn't let down. There isn't anything ground-breaking about the film's story, but Pitch Perfect is a big slice of feel-good and hilarious fun.

The set-up is like other teen films and television shows where young people come together and compete against each other - be it in singing with Glee, dancing in Streetdance, or cheerleading in Bring it On.

In Pitch Perfect, the team sport is college a cappella singing, where the groups pick a tune and sing it unaccompanied. The storyline features the successes, failures and fallouts, with a touch of romance on the side, you'd expect to see as the groups work their way through to the finals.

Anna Kendrick stars as Beca, a reluctant college student who would prefer to be in LA working towards becoming a music producer rather than attending Barton University.
She works at the campus radio station and spends her time mixing new tracks, but when she's coerced into joining the The Bellas, an a cappella all-girl singing group, she's surprised how much she enjoys the female camaraderie of her unusual clubmates.

Kendrick might be the surly "alt girl", but she plays her character straight. If you think Glee-mania is a bit naff then she's the character you're going to relate to - so would she. Cannon has surrounded Kendrick with a mix of cliches (the pretty mean girls), outright weird characters (the cute Asian who speaks in a whisper and likes to set fires), and the film's comedic force, Aussie comedian Rebel Wilson.

An unashamed scene-stealer, Wilson as Fat Amy gives the impression she's improvising the whole time, with every line even funnier for her deadpan and self-deprecating style. She's largely responsible for the laugh out loud moments, some of which brought me to tears.

While there are different levels of comedic ability among the cast, all the girls, and guys in the rival group The Treblemakers, can sing. Thanks to some clever mash-ups of current and classic hits, the musical performances are catchy, upbeat, and the energy is high.

Director Jason Moore likes to keep it real - he doesn't try and turn these performances into slick music videos, the choreography is good rather than mind-blowing, and visually the scenes are simply shot.

And this is why Pitch Perfect works - it doesn't try too hard. It's not trying to be cool, it doesn't dumb itself down; it just allows the talent to do their best with Cannon's smart, snappy script and funny gags. All of which means you'll leave the theatre with a smile on your face, perhaps trying to sing Rihanna.

Stars: 3.5/5
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Skylar Astin
Director: Jason Moore
Running time: 112 mins
Rating: M (offensive language and sexual references)
Verdict: Hilarious comedy that hits all the right notes

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 21 Aug 2014 16:00:39 Processing Time: 833ms