Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway
"Pitch Perfect" is some well needed sonic popcorn sprinkled with fun from start to finish. Yes, it is bubbly with Pop and fluff filled with visual fructose and cinematic CO2, but it is free-wheeling and unpretentious with more good natured irreverence than five John Waters comedies. In this age of all-too serious films overworked with technique and intention, it is nice that a critic can let his hair down and be immersed in corn.
It also echoes the 1980s Teen comedies "Revenge of the Nerds" and "Sixteen Candles". True, these films didn't contain much content, but they did have an unbound glib spirit and the courage to be silly.
"Pitch Perfect" doesn't pretend to be anything else but what it is: carbonated entertainment. For this alone, it has my respect. And "Pitch Perfect" does one better, it delights in giggles and maintains its momentum throughout.
Based on a book by author Mickey Rapkin, the story posits a semi-surreal collegiate world where virtually everyone depends on their a cappella groups for their own self esteem and survival. The students form packs ala Lord of the Flies and Brave New World (a bit) and simply fight tooth and nail.
Aspiring DJ Beca (Anna Kendrick) arrives at a preppy and uniform college and she is soon pressured by numerous singing groups. The Stepford-like Aubrey (Anna Camp) moves right in--into the shower no less--and puts the moves on the isolated and bohemian Beca. She reluctantly agrees and what follows is a non-stop catty laugh-fest that has elements of John Waters and the dry humor of Christopher Guest ( "Best in Show", "A Mighty Wind" ). Although not as pointed as Guest here, the film's director Jason Moore still achieves some non-threatening and gleeful barbs.
A highlight is actor Adam DeVine as the egocentric Bumper who is actually so obnoxious as to climb on teammates and rivals alike. DeVine is a bit like Jack Black and Jim Carrey combined, but that doesn't matter. Not since Steve Martin in "The Jerk" have a seen a character so silly. Another stand out is Rebel Wilson as a girl called Fat Amy who is more fun than Rikki Lake in "Hairspray" and even might give the legendary comic Divine a run for his money before the year is out with her eccentric lack of self consciousness which is essential for any real comic.
"Pitch Perfect" is not cerebral, nor is it supposed to be, but it is sheer fun from start to finish. It is pure candy but it will delight the eyes as well as make you hoot and holler from laughing. I enjoyed the dance numbers too; they managed to be both heartfelt and ridiculous like most of the 80s films.
Actors John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks almost steal the film away from Adam DeVine and Rebel Wilson in their roles as catty, superficial and vacuous judges full of nonsense. Move over Will Ferrell. These two have you pegged.
I never thought I would ever recommend a musical comedy with actual projectile vomiting, especially given my recurring fears of "The Exorcist", (and at this time of year, no less) but by all means go see it, just for fun.
You will laugh your nodes off.
Write Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org