Pitch Perfect 3 movie review: The Bellas’ final song is too much flash, too little heart
Pitch Perfect 3
Director: Trish Sie
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow
In 2012, Pitch Perfect was the freshest thing we’d seen in a long time when it came to comedy musicals and all-female star casts. In 2018, it’s anything but fresh.
With the third part, the franchise scrapes the very bottom of the barrel only to land on a ridiculous story and a half a motivation to make it. What should have been the perfect send off to the singing dorks we fell in love with six years ago, ends up being a hodge podge of needlessly added action sequences and an inconsequentially extrapolated secondary character’s backstory.
Life after college has not been the perfect dream for Beca (Anna Kendrick) or the rest of the Barden Bellas. (when is it really, for anyone?!!) They are stuck tolerating bad singers, pretending to be dead singers, prodding cow guts and killing fake people in their flight tests.
A Bellas reunion is what they need to feel important again. And by what could not have seriously been the first idea to come up in the writers’ room, they decide to perform for the US troops and tour with DJ Khaled so he could choose one of the four music groups to open for him at concerts.
At the tour, they meet the other three groups and their worst enemy: instruments. The bands are armed and loaded with guitars, drums and mix tables and the Bellas still only have their ‘mouth music’. The challenge, in itself, should have been enough for Pitch Perfect 3 but another, more time-consuming storyline is added to the mix: Daddy issues.
John Lithgow plays a cuddly, singing mobster father to Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) and drives a yacht all over Winston Churchill’s grave for a quick, easy buck. The storyline, added only to stretch out Rebel as much as they could, lets her use sausage nunchucks on thugs, emerging as the heroine who saves her girls.
Of course, Rebel does her bit well enough but her best punches still land only in the awkward humour propelled by her confident self. She wonders if the soldiers would visit more ‘bases’ with her, suggests ‘Nevermoist’ as the perfect band name for grannies, tells Hailee Steinfeld to shut up in a number of creative ways.
More time for Rebel meant little time for Anna Kendrick. It has always been easy to love her, despite her snobby better-than-you-nerds attitude, but this time, she fails to make a dent. As if she knew the film would make money whether or not she gave it her all, she didn’t. She may have been the lead in the previous two parts, but here, she is lost in the crowd, found only at the very last song.
Brittany Snow is still delightfully pathetic, just the way we like her, Anna Camp is still hopelessly miserable in her control-freak ways, Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins are still at it, giving lessons in your everyday sexism while practising it themselves.
If anything, the only few parts where the film slightly saves itself is through the classic riff-off scene which gets behind you in the first 15 minutes of the film. The performances, if they aren’t songs that had already been engraved in your head in 2016 (Cheap Thrills, Cake By The Ocean), float by in a quick montage.
Thankfully, the comedy is still strong with this one. Rebel Wilson with her “physical comedy”, Elizabeth Banks through what we hope was sarcasm and sometimes even Anna Kendrick with her crazy ideas about people looking like animals, manage to wring giggles out of you often enough.
So, if awkward background music and unnecessary explanations of why the boys from the last two movies could not make it (or anything else that I mentioned above) aren’t a big bother, maybe watch the Bellas sing again and aca-cept them as they are.
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The author tweets as @soumya1405