When this musical-comedy was released in December I had not seen any of the popular Pitch Perfect trilogy. But over the last few weeks my wife Barb and I have caught up to the first two on DVD and have seen this new one. Thus, all are fresh in mind — for now. I tend to think that they will all fade rather quickly. For the record, the first Pitch Perfect (2012) is appealing and fun, especially for a younger audience, though I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a good film. ☆ ☆ 1/2. Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) is a step down dramatically, but it is edgier and funnier. Also ☆ ☆ 1/2.
Trish Sie’s film, the third and possibly final entry of the series, finds the Barden Bellas a cappella singers from the first two films trying to find their places in the world. The chance for a reunion as part of a USO show brings them back together in Europe, where they cause all sorts of mayhem, caused mainly when Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) reunites with her long lost father Fergus (John Lithgow). As this musical-comedy veers into action territory it loses all sense of reality and I despaired. And then, just as in the first two films, the Bellas, led by Beca (Anna Kendrick), deliver a sensational final musical number to save the day.
Being the old-fashioned curmudgeon that I am, there is plenty about these films that I don’t like very much, from the jumpy editing style to the accepted casual crudity, from the music mash-ups that Beca likes so much to the irrelevant supporting characters in the group. I’m not familiar with most of the modern songs being sung, and I don’t really care for them. And yet — music is the universal language, especially of youth, and much of what these movies are is conveyed through their songs and performances. When they are good they are very good — especially the closing numbers; and that love of music, and thus, of life, comes through in every movie.
So while these movies are clearly not pointed toward me, I can still appreciate them for what they are, and what they do. I do not see any of them as really good films, but they are decent entertainments. So suspend your critical senses, listen to the music and enjoy a movie about friends connecting with each other — and their audiences — with song. That last musical number, the Bellas’ version of “Freedom,” makes it all worth while. ☆ ☆ 1/2. 17 January 2018.