Film Review: Pitch Perfect 3
The Barden Bellas sang and danced their way into the chick flick hall of fame with 2012’s Pitch Perfect. Four years after the events of that film, now graduated and trying to shake off the bond of their world championship-winning a cappella girl group, the Bellas are back for another encore and a final curtain call.
The opening scene of Pitch Perfect 3 gives away the off-key nature of this final part of the musical franchise. Expect a choppy ride when you see the Bellas listlessly singing on a yacht minutes before Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) comes crashing through the roof. With that you go back three weeks and see where this absurd climax began—padding up a weak storyline that has been stretched to a crimped 93 minutes.
Missing their days together, the girls reunite for a tour to Europe to entertain American soldiers. They reach Spain to realise that they are in a contest with three other bands to win the opening slot for headlining act DJ Khaled (playing himself). The Bellas face stiff competition from a four-member girl band called Ever Moist comprising Serenity, Calamity, Charity and Veracity, setting up Amy to quip that if she joined the band she could be called Obesity.
Four European cities in four days, during which the Bellas wreak havoc. The script struggles to find reason. The songs, choreographed dances and contests were the most enjoyable part of Pitch Perfect, and remain the high points of this film as well, but these are offset by the senseless storyline.
Writers Mike White and Kay Cannon introduce two plot lines revolving around father issues, one of which involves John Lithgow overdoing an Australian accent as Amy’s swindling father. There are two slim love story tracks and a two-person crew (Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins) representing “Talk-Capella”, which obsessively follows the Bellas, recording their every move, all the while waiting for them to trip up.
The ensemble cast reunites for this swansong: Rebel Wilson’s Amy is especially annoying, while the more interesting character graphs, such as the talented music producer Becca (Anna Kendrick), the next-gen Bella Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) and the gay wannabe pilot Cynthia Rose (Esther Dean) are underdeveloped. Navigating towards a conclusion where the “pitches” finally come to terms with growing up, director Trish Sie should also have stuck to what was fun about the franchise—the music, the competitiveness and the girl bonding.
Pitch Perfect 3 does have elements that reconnect you to the charm of the original idea, but it’s so out of tune that you are almost thankful for the final curtain call. You may ask if a film on competitive a cappella deserved a sequel. What’s clear is that it did not merit a part three.
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