Pitch Perfect 3
Director: Trish Sie
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Hailee Steinfeld
Pitch Perfect 3 reunites the old cast one last time to mark the end of the musical franchise. Like many films in the same vein, Pitch Perfect may have done all right had it remained a standalone project. But the success of part 1 invariably prompted studio executives, producers, and filmmakers to cash in. There is always more money to be made, no matter how low the material is willing to stoop. Even if it were to be judged within the confines of the space it operates in, part 3 is a cheesy and overly predictable sequel that should have never been created.
The quality of the singing and the music’s production value still remain good, however. If it weren’t for those two entities, there would be no plausible reason to watch the film. The acting prowess of the lead characters (including Kendrick, who possesses a fair bit of talent) is severely limited due to the ordinary script. So, any form of half-decent character development is too much to expect. In the entire duration of the plot, I could count the number of scenes that made the cut, so to speak.
The first involves the ill-fated riff-off between the Bellas and their competition as they arrive at the US Army base in Spain. While the scene is rather mawkish, the seamless switching of songs from one group to the other (including some interesting synchronised dance moves) has a stamp of ingenuity in its presentation. The second involves Beca Mitchell (Kendrick) as she tests out DJ Khaled’s sophisticated sound system with musical improvisations of her own; in the only comedic part of the film, Kendrick’s character is completely oblivious to the chaotic events unfolding behind her as she groves to the music on her headphones.
A few years after graduating college, The Barden Bellas (they refer to themselves as only The Bellas now) are no longer together. Their A cappella dreams of the big time have been put on hold owing to the demands of life. As the members come to terms with their unenviable work situations, each one harbours a distinct yearning to return to their true calling.
Beca has just quit her thankless job as a music producer. Her roommate, Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), is struggling with her “Fat Amy Winehouse” music act. Chloe (Brittany Snow), who is attempting to become a veterinarian, still longs to sing with The Bellas again. The others are in similar boats. When Emily, a Barden senior and the head of the new Barden Bellas, invites the original group for a reunion, they automatically assume it’s their time to perform. The unfortunate miscommunication ends with them being forced to watch Emily sing with the new Bellas.
As they lament on the sad course their life has taken, Aubrey (Anna Camp) comes up with the idea of taking part in a USO tour through the influence of her Army officer father. After some convincing from Aubrey, all the old band members and Emily decide to get on a plane and roll back the glory years. Only Stacie is unable to join them because of her pregnancy. The Bellas land in Spain and are given a brief of the schedule by two US Army soldiers. It turns out that the group is in competition with other non-a cappella bands as well; the winner of the multi-city tour will open for the famed DJ Khaled.
The supposedly funny musical has few moments of redemption in that category. The jokes, if one were to even call them that, are so poor that you wonder if they are being targeted at bored fifth graders. With a comedic genius like John Lithgow in the supporting cast, one would expect Trish Sie and the writers to tap into the man’s great ability – but that was not be. The parts involving Chloe falling for Chicago, and vice versa, could have been handled much better than the stereotype that ends up making it to the final shots. Scenes between Anna Kendrick and Guy Burnett are no doubt more impressive, but they fail to possess the required power to bring some hope to the sinking ship. Despite the great singing and choreography, Pitch Perfect 3 falls flat in multiple ways.