By: Addison Wylie
I have no doubt that many will walk out of Pitch Perfect, the comedy/musical about competitive glee clubs, either singing or humming with a smile on their faces as the credits roll. But when deciding whether or not Pitch Perfect is a good movie itself, one has to decide if they’re rating the movie on the musical elements or the movie as a whole.
Pitch Perfect is Jason Moore’s feature film debut. Moore is familiar with musicals. He’s been nominated for a Tony award for his directorial work in the hit Broadway puppet musical Avenue Q.
Although his film debut doesn’t follow a conventional musical format, a lot of the movie is supported by sequences featuring the cast singing hit songs.
The song selections are well picked, the actors featured all have terrific voices, and the scenes featuring glee clubs facing off against each other on stage or in late night riff-offs are strongly edited with a great sense of pacing.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend people to buy the soundtrack. The tunes are catchy and when the occasional mash-up catches you off guard, it has the power to give you goosebumps.
Unfortunately, when you strip away the music and look at the movie as a whole, it’s mediocre fare at best.
In a teen movie like this, it’s hard to avoid clichés. The do-gooder guy who vies for the lead girl’s attention, the Father who doesn’t understand his daughter’s musical dreams, the tough cookie who learns to relax and enjoy a little bit of change once they hang around with some loosey-goosey influences. These all get worked to a full extent.
The familiarity in a teen friendly comedy can be forgivable if the execution is conducted with energy and panache. Pitch Perfect tries its hardest to capture that spirit but there’s far too much that drags it down, refusing to let it become its own original endeavour.
While Moore directs the musical sequences well, the rest of it feels like it was directed by a Twitter trending board.
No matter how hard it tries to separate itself from the popular phenomenon known as Glee, Pitch Perfect will still have inevitable comparisons to the TV show. However, it’s hard to tell if these comparisons were done on purpose to generate interest by somewhat cashing in on a movement that’s in the limelight at the moment.
The same can be said for the casting. Australian comedienne Rebel Wilson plays the role of Fat Amy, the film’s comic relief. Her deadpan delivery as well as her awkward sayings will have her followers in stitches but I couldn’t help but feel like we’ve seen this character before. A persona that, again, is in the popularity limelight right now, is considered a hot commodity, and thus, has to be in the film to generate interest. It’s all too obvious!
I really wish the film had that gutsy attitude that Moore’s Avenue Q had. It’s understandable Pitch Perfect couldn’t be as crude and audacious as Avenue Q’s humour (it does have to keep an accessible PG-13 rating, remember) but there’s no excuse for the film’s lack of interest to colour outside the lines and be something more memorable than what we have here.
The film’s comedy has crude moments, but it’s performed in an adolescent way. Pitch Perfect is weirdly interested in disgusting vomit jokes. The first one surprises us but when the film dwells in the bile and literally has one of its characters playing in someone else’s lunch and breakfast, it becomes downright nasty.
I’ve done some research. From checking online music stores, Pitch Perfect’s soundtrack costs about $9.99. A ticket to see the film in theatres during a regular showing will fall somewhere between $10-$15. By purchasing the soundtrack, you support the film and you have all the best parts at the pulse of your iPod. If you decide to catch it in theatres, you get that great music but you have to endure the less-than-stellar in between as well.
I would say enjoy the mp3’s. Listen to the well tuned voices and the well coordinated remixes and mash-ups as you please. Listen to the tracks and play back the ones you like. You certainly won’t have a rewind function during the movie. However, you may wish for a fast forward button.