Review: 'Pitch Perfect' Defies Logic, Is Entertaining

Far better than expected

Remix culture gets literal in this musical comedy about competitive, collegiate acapella. Anna Kendrick plays Beca, a musically talented, emotionally damaged freshman, whose free ride through school only feeds her resentment. She’d rather be in LA “paying her dues” and trying to work as a DJ.

Her dad, a professor at Barden University, barters with her: “if you get into a school club and still hate it here, I’ll pay your way to LA.” Just forget that being forced into a club is like an insult to those there by choice, but The Bellas, the campus’ ailing super-group, has bigger problems.

The hyper-feminine acapella troupe lost last year’s championships when soloists Aubrey (Anna Camp) projectile vomited onstage (ORANGE!). It’s the makings of YouTube stardom and yet none of the groups’ smartphone wielding recruits knew about it. Stranger still, their principle competitors, the hysterically arrogant Trebblemakers, didn’t paper the Club Fair with pictures.

The Bellas had a reputation for being as attractively conformist as a shop full of corsets, and just as imaginative; naturally Aubrey does her best to cram the girls into shape, but the results are sub-par and leave everyone with diminishing self-esteem. Beca’s ideas, full of remixing and spontaneity, prove exciting, eclectic and threatening to the rigidness Aubrey’s needs to suppress her puking problem.

But the girls adapt and become their own super-group—and acapella, which is known for inventive, all-vocal, instrumentation (they do it all, “with their mouths”) gets an impressive workout in the climactic showdown. It's surprising we haven’t made acapella into a bigger thing in the wake of “Glee”’s mega-success or the revival of rock hits a la Rock of Ages, since the goofy genre blends a nerd-intensive love for pop with a willingness to make fart noises with your mouth and call it “percussion.”

Really, to be fair, what we’ve got is a million ways to get nostalgic, and what Pitch Perfect does is give you a million plus one ways and shows you how to mix nostalgia and newness, or in this case, Simple Minds and Pit Bull.

You can’t argue those musicians are even in the same lifeboat, but in this case, no one needs a musical genre—they’re happy to leave genres to the movies.

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