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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
By Ellen Pham, tb-two* movie critic
Grade: *****, 5/5 asterisks
Filled with clever Glee-like mashups of hit songs and hilarious one-liners, this musical comedy is likely to sing its way into your heart.
Pitch Perfect offers a glimpse into the whimsical world of a cappella (singing without instrumental music). The opening scene at the international college a cappella competition introduces the heated rivalry between two groups: the female Bellas and the male Treble Makers. The Bellas are determined to beat the Treble Makers, but after a horrific performance of an old-fashioned tune, they stand no chance against the flashy, more contemporary Treble Makers, who have won the contest for years. After that embarrassment, all of the Bellas graduate or quit except Aubrey (Anna Camp) and Chloe (Brittany Snow). Now it’s up to the musically devoted pair to recruit new members for the Bellas.
That’s when we meet Beca (skillfully played by Anna Kendrick). Beca dreams of moving to Los Angeles and becoming a DJ, but her father has encouraged her to attend the university where he is a professor. After he realizes his daughter is in an antisocial slump, he tells her that if she tries out an activity for at least one year, he’ll help her move to LA. This leads Beca to belt it out for the Bellas.
Pitch Perfect depicts the Bellas’ transformation from easily forgotten group known for snooze-inducing songs to an eclectic mix of personalities with exciting, varied musical numbers and the hopes of seizing the first-place trophy at a major a cappella competition.
Kendrick’s portrayal of typical college student is spot-on; her sharp sarcasm and initially edgy reaction to a cappella make her believable as Beca, with her laid-back vibe and quirks, like never being able to watch a movie from beginning to end, resonating with the audience.
While the cast works well together, the undeniable standout is Rebel Wilson, who plays Fat Amy, one of the Bellas. She delivers the best lines with ease and conviction. Fat Amy’s humor is relentless; Wilson plays the brutally honest, vivacious character splendidly.
The choreographed music scenes are extremely entertaining and prove that the cast is talented in more than just acting. The “riff-off,” an a cappella version of a street fight between the singing groups, is particularly fun to watch as the groups sing based on certain themes and cut each other off vocally in the process.
Pitch Perfect took a risk blending such a diverse combination of characters, but it’s a risk that makes the film a comedic success on par with the quotable hits Mean Girls and Bring It On.
Ellen Pham is a junior at Chamberlain High.
Director: Jason Moore
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Skylar Astin
Running time: 112 minutes