The ten-word synopsis: Girl ends up on all-female singing troupe. Love ensures.
It’d be easy to dismiss formulaic pictures as being easy to make and lazy. However, that’d be to undermine the craftsmanship needed to successfully slot what is, essentially, a pre-prepared film together. Some of the upbeat, school-set bubblegum musicals that have plauged cinema and TV alike over the past five years have been able to do this. High School Musical is such a good example of assembly it’s now used as an instructional manuel for all others. Pitch Perfect chooses to ignore the manuel and put the flat-pack musical together by simply looking at the front of the box. Pitch Perfect also happens to be the best example of the genre I’ve seen to date.
Anna Kendrick is an ‘Alternative’-type girl, who has just arrived at a new college against her will. During a chance encounter, she finds herself scouted by an all-girl a cappella group, the new so-uncool-it’s-cool fad. “A cappella” is the art of producing music without the use of any instruments, which would seem like a novel enough twist on the formula to spur its own movie. It does make the singing scenes more spectacular, actually, freshening things up a bit and making the final, bombastic performance neck-hair-raising, without a cringe in sight.
Pitch Perfect is well-assembled and solidly built, to keep the DIY metaphor going. However, this seemingly wasn’t enough for the writers, who have also managed to produce one of the funniest films of the year. Perhaps it lacks the belly laughs of Ted or The Muppets, but it is consistantly snigger-worthy and amusing, right from the first two seconds (It contains the best Universal logo this side of fellow Kendrick film and personal favourite, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World). So much of the film is played with ironic senseabilities and a self-awareness not yet seen from the genre. Anna Camp deserves plaudits for a performance so brilliantly straight you can tell she understands the exact irony of what she’s doing.
The star of the show, though, is Rebel Wilson. Having had minor roles in the likes of Bridesmaids, What To Expect When You’re Expecting and A Few Best Men, she really comes to life in Pitch Perfect. The ever-brillaint Kendrick (a personal favourite of mine) gets not-so-shoved gently to one by Wilson, who is just incredibly funny. There’s no two ways around it. Her timing and delivery are spot-on. A lot of her dialogue is, apparently, improvised. According to producer (Who makes a cameo performance as a commentator on the a cappella performances, which also made me laugh, anyway) Elizabeth Banks, she would just go off on one during shooting, and often they were so funny they had to be left in. It’s a really note-worthy comic performance from a character I was expecting to simply be the token fat girl.
The longer and longer I was sat watching Pitch Perfect, the more and more surprised I grew. Not at the fact that I was enjoying it -I’m an advocate of cheesey musical romps at he worst of times- but at the fact that it was actually a really good film. It’s bound to have neighsayers who try either dislike the slightly raucous humour or just object to the genre, but it is, in my eyes, the high point of the high school musical to date. It’s on-parr with the likes of Mean Girls and well worth your time. Putting these films together is an art form, and one all involved seem to have mastered.
8 flying Mexican foods out of 10