Pitch Perfect 3 Review

Pitch Perfect 3

I believe it was the modern day chanteuse Britney Spears who once sang the famous chorus:

‘I’m addicted to you don’t you know that you’re toxic?’

(Dum dum dum dum de dum)

The world probably doesn’t require Pitch Perfect 3, just as it does not really need an acapella Britney; or for that matter an overindulged yet artfully dishevelled reviewer referencing uninspiring lyrics from noughties pop songs by way of an introduction. Fortunately none of this prevents director Trish Sie’s newly released third offering of the perfectly pitched franchise from being a couple of hours of fun and likeable nonsense.

As our heroines, still fronted by Anna Kendrick’s Becca, have all now graduated from college and been replaced by a new crop of fresh faced undergraduates any semblance of storyline seems somewhat forced. The film’s writer Kay Cannon, no doubt realising this, wisely invites the audience to temporarily suspend reality.

We initially join the ex-Bella’s settling into new careers with mixed success when, due to a tenuous family connection, they are invited to perform alongside other professional musicians as part of a US forces entertainment tour in Europe. They are accompanied by regular commentators Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins who appear, uninvited, from nowhere to film the tour as a fly on the wall documentary and provide their usual barbed analysis.

There then ensues a series of set pieces where the Bella’s fail to ingratiate themselves with their more illustrious counterparts as they all compete to be chosen as the tour’s best act; the winner being signed up to (the real) DJ Khaled’s record label. This provides not only the necessary level of competition the girls thrive on, but also ample opportunity to shoehorn plenty of super-awks moments for Rebel Wilson’s Fat Amy to deadpan cute one-liners over.

As the girls help to settle themselves into garrison life by flirting with anything in a combat fatigue one of them re-establishes contact with her long lost criminal mastermind father who plans to use the Bella’s as part of a plan to pay off a debt.

Fortunately the makers of Pitch Perfect 3 are well aware that millions of squeaking teenage girls are not paying to see a taut and carefully developed plot so throw the bulk of their energies into choreographing slick dance routines and producing nifty vocal arrangements.

And of course the musical sequences are where the film, like its predecessors, is at its most successful.

But what also comes across is the natural chemistry in the relationship between the Bella’s. In fact the movie’s most effective and touching scenes are the out-takes with the cast at the end, almost as if to re-enforce the films over-riding message of friendship and sisterhood.

So whilst it will not win any awards, and despite the understandable irritation at a shameless by-product of Hollywood’s complete obsession with milking any notable success for all the cash it’s worth, Pitch Perfect is the sort of guilty pleasure which becomes enjoyable despite itself.

To such an extent that your correspondent has not been able to remove that bloody ear-worm of a song from his head ever since.

Frank Gardiner

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December 2017
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