Have you ever left a movie feeling like everything is right in the world? Because that’s exactly how I felt when I left Pitch Perfect last night. I don’t know if it’s because I had some serious choir nostalgia lodged in the deepest parts of my subconscious, or if it’s because I laughed for nearly two hours straight. What I do know is that this movie is fantastic, and I’m going to recommend it to everyone.
Don’t be fooled by the premise—this isn’t that perky, high-school Glee shit. Sure, there’s singing, dancing, and nerdy a cappella groups called The Bellas and The Treblemakers; but there’s also tons of puke, awkward Asians, rape whistles, Star Wars nerds, catchy mashups, and jokes that almost feel Bridesmaids-reminiscent. Basically, what I’m trying to tell you is that Pitch Perfect is not the movie you probably expected. But more on that in a moment.
Here’s how Universal describes the plot: “Beca (Anna Kendrick) is that girl who’d rather listen to what’s coming out of her headphones than what’s coming out of you. Arriving at her new college, she finds herself not right for any clique but somehow is muscled into one that she never would have picked on her own: alongside mean girls, sweet girls, and weird girls whose only thing in common is how good they sound when they sing together, in the new out-loud comedy Pitch Perfect. When Beca takes this acoustic singing group out of their world of traditional arrangements and perfect harmonies into all-new mash-ups, they fight to climb their way to the top of the cutthroat world of college a cappella. This could wind up either the coolest thing they’ll ever do or the most insane, and it will probably be a little of both.”
Two words: Fat Amy. Rebel Wilson’s performance in this movie was just golden. Fat Amy (who later admits that her name is actually Fat Patricia) is like the loud, obnoxious, inappropriate friend everybody loves. Even though she’s the outspoken weirdo in The Bellas, she’s the only one truly comfortable in her own skin, as was demonstrated during her sassy, strip-teasing “Turn the Beat Around” solo at the regional a cappella competition. Also, she can make the best of a bad situation when confusing a DJs (Deaf Jews) group with DJs (Disc Jockeys); and she can take a hurled burrito to the chest like a champ. I think my favorite line of hers in the movie was the one about wrestling a crocodile and a dingo simultaneously (since Fat Amy was from Tasmania).
The best thing about this movie was that it’s a really self-aware comedy (which means really good writing). If you’re wondering what the hell “self-aware comedy” means, it’s when the jokes and messages of the comedy are contradictory to the comedy itself. For example, think about Bring It On, which is another really great self-aware comedy. All of the jokes made fun of how intense some real-life cheerleaders get about cheerleading, and then the movie wanted us to root for that same intensity whenever the movie cheerleaders got pumped about cheerleading.
In Pitch Perfect‘s case, the self-aware jokes targeted nerdy choral groups and their culture, but it also poked fun at young-adult comedies by creating parallels with The Breakfast Club. Oh, you don’t think so? Well, for the obvious hints, they showed clips of The Breakfast Club and sang “Don’t You (Forget About Me).” All of the characters were also derivatives of the brain, athlete, basket case, princess, and criminal stereotypes; not to mention that The Bellas actually had a scene where they all sat down and shared their life woes.
For the one you might not have caught—Beca (Anna Kendrick) and Jesse (Skylar Astin) were watching The Breakfast Club, and she mentioned that the endings of movies like that one are always predictable because the guy always gets the girl and what not. Ironically enough, the ending of Pitch Perfect ended in the exact same way. “Hello, self-aware comedy? Yes, this is your joke about predictable endings actually foreshadowing and mocking your own predictable ending!” This shit is absolutely brilliant.
There are so many fantastic one-liners and quips in this movie that I heard more than a dozen of them being repeated while I was in the women’s restroom after the movie ended. Remember all of the really funny jokes you saw in the movie’s trailer? Well, guess what? The jokes in the movie (that weren’t shown in the trailer) are ten times funnier. And because I’m nice, I’ve decided not to spoil them for you.
And the MUSIC is awesome. Sure, it’s wonderful that they found actors talented enough to sing this stuff; but honestly, I think credit should go to the music director because he/she made some seriously good mashups (so seriously good that I’m going to purchase the shit out of this soundtrack). I’ve heard Glee‘s a cappella soundtracks, and they are hideously auto-tuned. I’m not saying Pitch Perfect‘s songs weren’t auto-tuned, but at least they sounded more realistic and less “bubblegum.” Also, this was one of those singing movies where, as an audience member, I was so entertained that at one point I accidentally started to clap because I forgot I was in a movie theater, not watching a live competition.
The only thing that I didn’t like was that there was one character that almost seemed lazy in terms of development—Cynthia Rose (Esther Dean), the black lesbian. It’s like the screenwriter was trying to figure out how to get two, overly-criticized minorities into the movie, so they just said “Screw it” and combined them. Is that offensive? Possibly. Did I still laugh? Of course, because I’m a terrible person. But I still think it was lazy writing, especially since her being the black lesbian was the entire point (and joke) of her character.
Overall, this movie was just as perfect as the music mashups it featured. It was a great mix of comedy and goofy, sing-along fun, which I attribute to screenwriter Kay Cannon, who writes for Tina Fey’s 30 Rock (a show that I absolutely love), and producer Elizabeth Banks, who makes a hilarious cameo as an a cappella competition announcer. It’s not a movie just for choir nerds or women; this is a movie everyone could and will enjoy. It had me laughing from beginning to end so hard that my eyes watered and made my mascara run (which made me look like a crazy crackwhore). I’m going to throw this up there and say that this was one of my favorite comedies of 2012 (along with Ted). Oh, and I’m going to buy the soundtrack. Like right now.