PG-13 (sexual material, strong language, drug references); 111 min.
Who knew there was this much fun left in glee clubs so long after Glee jumped the shark? Pitch Perfect is a frothy, funny, dizzy and derivative farce set in the competitive world of college a cappella groups. Sweet little Anna Kendrick plays Beca, the cynical, rebellious would-be DJ/record producer who heads to Barden College at her dad's insistence. That's where she hooks up with the Barden Bellas, a hyper-competitive chorus that lives for the chance to take down a cappella's national collegiate champs, the frat-boyish nerds of Treble Makers.
The Bellas don sexy stewardess uniforms -- circa 1966 -- and sing dated pop tunes in close harmony set to fetching choreography. Imperious Aubrey (Anna Camp) and perky Chloe (Brittany Snow) run the skinny-girls-on-parade show.
But this year's version of The Bellas has a black lesbian belter (Ester Dean), an oversexed bombshell (Alexis Knapp), a disturbed, whisper-voiced Asian coed (comic Hana Mae Lee) and Fat Amy, a big, blowsy Tasmanian devil with "an Orthodox Jew pony-tail" rendered in broad, boisterous strokes by Rebel Wilson.
The romance side of things (Skyler Astin plays Beca's love interest) is a non-starter, and the love interest's magician/ Star Wars freak roommate (Ben Platt) is plainly an afterthought. But Kendrick never lets Beca become a "rebel girl" cliché. And Wilson never lets Pitch Perfect go more than a few bars between laughs. As pieced-together-by-committee as this sometimes feels, Perfect is never off-key.
-- Roger Moore,
McClatchy-Tribune News Service