The odds, we are told at the beginning of Pitch Perfect (trailer), the debut comedy-musical feature of US TV producer Jason Moore, are stacked against all-women a capella singing groups. Why? Because they unable to reach the low notes that their male counterparts can. But, all things considered, why should that deter anyone?
It certainly doesn’t bother Aubrey (Anna Camp), and Chloe (Brittany Snow), the spirited leaders of the Bellas, the only all-women a capella group at Louisiana’s Barden University. While struggling to recruit, they meet Beca (Anna Kendrick), a reluctant freshman who would rather be in Los Angeles pursuing her dream of being a DJ.
If Beca can last a year in a college club though, her father (John Benjamin Hickey), also a professor at Barden, will allow her to leave. The Bellas are soon joined by the brash “Fat Amy” (Rebel Wilson), and quite-as-a-mouse Lilly (Hana Mae Lee), among others. While hardly ideal recruits, Aubrey and Chloe realise they few candidates to choose from.
As it happens their chief rivals, and reigning ICCA champions, the all-male Treble Makers, also study at Barden. The Bellas know they have to pull something extra special out of the hat, not only to prevail, but also to put their performance at last year’s national competition, one they’d rather forget, if only they could, behind them.
There have been a few below-par movie musicals in recent years, but this is not one of them. Unlike other such offerings that have tried to make too much from too little, “Pitch Perfect” gets the balance of storytelling and stage performance right, and to boot is accompanied by an often wicked, left of field, humour.
And while very much Kendrick’s show, she often finds herself competing for the spot light, especially after Wilson and Lee make their entrances. Even though we really see nothing new here, and the story follows an arc that doesn’t include too many surprises, “Pitch Perfect” exudes energy and appeal that borders on the infectious.