Singing performances make 'Pitch Perfect' aca-mazing
‘Glee’ meets ‘Bring It On’ with the sassy swagger of ‘Clueless’ in Jason Moore’s unabashedly feel-great musical comedy about an all-girl a cappella group hoping to pitch slap their well-rehearsed rivals at a national singing competition.
‘Pitch Perfect’ delivers a menagerie of memorable characters who are determined to chart a course through life with lyrical guidance from Madonna, Kelly Clarkson and Jessie J.
These feisty femmes include an overweight freshman, who refers to herself as Fat Amy so other girls don’t do it behind her back, and a softly spoken beatboxer called Lilly (Hana Mae Lee), who wouldn’t look out of place in a Japanese horror.
“I set fires to feel joy!” she whispers creepily.
Kay Cannon’s script, adapted loosely from the book by Mickey Rapkin, is truly an embarrassment of riches, peppered with deliciously tart one-liners.
Adjectives and nouns are prefixed with ’aca’ to create a snappy lingo and surprisingly, we never grow tired of this simple gimmick, from one girl gasping, “Aca-scuse me?!” to a suitor telling his beloved, “We’re gonna have aca-children. It’s inevitable.”
Waspish competition commentators John (John Michael Higgins) and Gail (Elizabeth Banks), who was once a member of The Menstrual Cycles, set the tone beautifully in the opening frames.
“Nothing makes a woman feel more like a girl than a man who sings like a boy,” opines Gail as she stares lustily at a group of teen hunks in perfect harmony.
The unlikely heroine, however, is Beca (Anna Kendrick), who arrives at Barden College with dreams of becoming a music producer, to the chagrin of her father, university professor Dr Mitchell (John Benjamin Hickey).
He promises to fund a career in Los Angeles if she agrees to become involved in campus life.
So Beca reluctantly signs up with The Bellas, who flopped spectacularly at last year’s sing-off when soloist Aubrey (Anna Camp) projectile vomited over the audience.
Aubrey’s right-hand gal, Chloe (Brittany Snow), is open to Beca’s bold ideas to reinvigorate the repertoire but Aubrey insists they stick to her songbook of 1990s favourites.
New girl Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), who claims to be “the best singer in Tasmania… with teeth,” throws her considerable weight behind Beca but as the competition draws near, tensions are evident.
‘Pitch Perfect’ lives up to its title, delivering aca-mazing musical performances with plenty of vim and gorgeous harmonies as The Bellas prove they are “Dixie Chick serious” about winning the championship.
Kendrick brings emotional depth to her plucky heroine, while Wilson scene steals with antipodean gusto, threatening to take down one male rival as only she knows how.
“I’m going to finish him like a cheesecake,” she growls.
That we’d like to see.
Star Rating: 4/5