DVD Review: Pitch Perfect

Imperfect. But upbeat and enjoyable as well as the launch pad for “Pitch Perfect 2,” now in theaters.

You have to suspend belief a bit to get behind the plot: competitive college a cappella that trumps dating, football and attending class. Barden College’s female song group, the Bellas, have talent and timing, but their material is sooo Lawrence Welk. The guy group at Barden is way cooler and leaves the gals in the dust … a status that is only worsened when the Bellas’ uptight leader launches a Vesuvius hurl during the national finals, taking projectile vomit, if not a cappella, to new heights.

Much as was the case with “High School Musical” and “Glee,” the pleasures are in the song-and-dance numbers. Predictably (an adverb that invites overuse in describing “Pitch Perfect’s” plot elements), the makeup of the Barden Bellas edges into the ragtag, with Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) being the ragtagiest. Also, she’s the best reason for seeing the movie.

We follow the travails and ultimate triumph of Beca (Anna Kendrick), who wants to go into show biz. Her understanding dad says OK, but she must first complete a year of college. And take up at least one extracurricular activity.

Beca joins the Bellas and chums up with the group’s best singer, Chloe (Brittany Snow). But the two of them can’t get their tightly wrapped leader, Aubrey (Anna Camp), to let them loose on numbers that came into being after the Eisenhower administration. Meanwhile, the guy group continues to kick bootie in all the competitions

Predictably (whoops!) the Bellas’ basic talent, choreography and performance style moves them forward. When a finalist group ahead of them is disqualified, the Bellas are back in contention for the national finals at Lincoln Center. They go up against those darn boys again. Will they get their act together and perform something really hot? Will they — could they — come in first?

Three guesses.

We liked the play-by-play commentary (a la “Best in Show”) of John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks. He’s a lout and she’s a birdbrain and their patter is pretty funny.

Oddments are a chaste romance between Beca and Jesse (Skylar Astin), and the participation, if it can be called such a thing, of Lilly (Hana Mae Lee), a pixyish Asian girl who doesn’t speak or sing beyond a whisper.

Stephen Fay

Stephen Fay

Managing Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Fay, managing editor of The Ellsworth American since 1996, is a third-generation Californian. Starting out as a news reporter in 1974, he has been an editor since 1976, working in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont before settling in Ellsworth with his wife and two daughters. [email protected]

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