Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pitch Perfect [2012]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III)  Roger Ebert (2 Stars)  Fr. Dennis (2 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing -
CNS/USCCB review -
Roger Ebert's review -

Pitch Perfect (directed by Jason Moore, screenplay by Kay Cannon based on the book by GQ magazine contributor Mickey Rapkin) is, of course, a "song and dance movie" to a good extent influenced by the wild success of the television series Glee [2009-].  So looking for a particularly nuanced "plot" in this film is largely missing the point here.  The story line exists in as much as it has to, to give us viewers the excuse to watch some very good singing on the part of the young people, in this case, "college students," in the film.

I'd also add that the film has also obvious influences coming from last year's hit movie Bridesmaids [2011] (so the film is certainly cruder than it needed to be) and Dodgeball [2004] where the inspiration for some of the "play by play antics" of the "television announcers" for the various competitions in this film certainly comes from.

Still as a "song and dance movie" it's not a bad one -- the showing at which I saw this film was filled with groups, big and small, of teenage / pre-teenage girls (Glee fans no doubt ...) who clearly enjoyed the film.

However, I certainly could have done without was the rather tiresome Bridesmaids overlay.  At the end of the day, the film was beaten down into a PG-13 acceptable format anyway.  However, in this regard, honestly call me "old fashioned" but in my own life I've _never_ found crudity to be particularly "liberating" ... Often enough, crudity just causes us needless grief, if not immediately then certainly down the road, by gaining purposefully crude people the reputation that they are just a bunch of three-toothed morons...

And given that life carries with it enough troubles as it is, it's generally rather _stupid_ to needlessly choose to add to our griefs as well.  It's not to say that we have to needlessly stiff either, but honestly, we don't have to choose to be _stupid_ either.  People may _laugh with us_ when we choose to act stupid, but WITHOUT A DOUBT, they will _laugh at us_ after we leave ... So honestly folks acting needlessly stupid is rarely if ever a winning approach to life ...

Ok, "end of Sermon" ... ;-)  What's the film about?  The film largely takes place at a "small liberal arts college somewhere out East," a college that has been swept-up in a craze of collegiate acapella singing competitions.  At the school in question there are four acapella groups:  The first is an all-girls group called the "Aca-Bellas" led by seniors, perfectionist Aubrey (played by Anna Camp) still traumatized by a vomiting episode in the national finals of last year's competition, and her happier, more pragmatic, less traumatized BFF Chloe (played Brittany Snow) who just wants to recruit a good team to win this time around.  Their chief rival at the school and the one that in the story ended up winning the national championship after the "Aca-Bellas" vomiting episode are the all mens "Trebble Makers" led by a-hole but proud of it (hey they don't call themselves the "bad boys of acapella music" for nothing) Bumper (played by Adam Devine).  In addition to these two "Class-A" groups, there are also two others, a group of stoners with a name loosely linked somehow to "medical marijuana" and then a group of somewhat basket case nerds, who we quickly see "don't stand a chance..."

The film begins with "Student Activity Day" at the college with the four groups busily scouting for the best talent.  Among the possibilities is freshman Beca (played by Anna Kendrick) who sees her future in digital sound mixing, hates being at college at all and would prefer to just head out to Los Angeles to find a job in a studio there.  The other is fellow freshman Jesse (played by Skylar Austin) who's far less negative about the college experience and dreams of working also in sound mixing but specifically on the mixing of sound tracks of popular films.  His favorite, of course, is the sound track of the teen-film of the ages, The Breakfast Club [1985].

Beca initially finds the whole acapella craze an eye-rolling "boring waste of time," while Jesse finds it kinda cool.  Eventually with Chloe's recruiting persistence and (Beca's dad's insistence) Beca's convinced to, "arrghh...", join the "Aca-Bellas" while Jesse gets happily recruited onto the "Trebble Makers."  Much ensues ...

It's all fun, there's some good singing.  Again, I just kinda wish that the film makers would have not tried so hard to needlessly make the film "Bridesmaids-like."  Most of the kids in the theater where I saw the film were Glee fans anyway ...

So parents, the film's certainly okay for teens.  Just bear with some of the film's needless crudity/stupidity ...

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