When I first saw the trailer for Pitch Perfect, opening in theaters tomorrow, I thought, "Oh boy, here we go again. Another movie where the one-dimensional 'good girls' get, dare I say, pitch-slapped by the 'badass' new kid." Stereotypical portrayals are one reason I never rush to see “chick flick-esque" films. The characters typically fall flat and neglect to convey the multi-faceted dimensions of their personhood.
Nevertheless, having been in an a cappella group myself, I was intrigued to see how this film would play out. Pitch Perfect is about an all-girl college a cappella group taking on their male rivals in a campus competition. After setting pretty low expectations, I'll admit that the film was actually enjoyable. The film’s spazztastic singing, riffing, and a cappella moments made me want to jump in and add my own harmony, and I even enjoyed a few characters―in particular, Jesse (Skylar Astin) is charming and Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) is just hilarious. I was pleasantly surprised by how often this movie made me laugh.
But let’s not go crazy. Like many Hollywood comedies, this film is full of clichés. For the most part, the characters play along your typical girl typecasts: the mean one, the nice idiot, etc. Is it really necessary―or even comical for that matter―for every character to fit into a stock category that necessitates incredibly cheesy over-acting? Take Aubrey (Anna Camp) for example: this snooty group leader has to have everything her way and she adds "a ca"–because she's obsessed with a cappella?–to various words. At least the protagonist, Beca (Anna Kendrick) is somewhat better, despite the "I'm mad at the world" caricature. In one scene, she rolls her eyes at her taxi driver and sneers "I got it" as he helps her with her suitcase (how dare he!). At first I couldn't stand her, but as the movie progressed, she has some relatable moments; I even found myself rooting for her eventually.
Final Verdict: If you’re looking for your a light-hearted comedy without much depth and appreciate the added bonus of musical moments, you’ll probably be entertained by Pitch Perfect, imperfect as it is. I doubt it will become a family favorite, but you may rush home with the urge to burst into song and dance within the comfort of your own apartment.
Laura Gualandri has her BA in Performing Arts and Writing from Providence College. She lives in NYC with her husband and new baby boy. When she’s not changing diapers and cleaning up her son’s spontaneous spews, she enjoys singing and playing the guitar, making delicious seasonal meals, and planning fun outings inside the city and out.