Better than Pitch Perfect 2, not as great as the original. That’s pretty much all you need to know.
What was great about Pitch Perfect, the first one, was the catchy musical mash ups and Rebel Wilson’s largely improvised one-liners. In the sequel, those funny lines became a succession of off-colour jokes that, combined with a paper-thin plot full of nationalist stereotypes, made the story painful to watch.
In Pitch Perfect 3, we join most of the original members of the Bellas, after college days are over and they are struggling to find fulfilment in a variety of jobs. The Bellas arrive at a reunion which sets them on a path to a USO tour. They must via with three non-a cappella (gasp!) bands to open for DJ Khaled (played by himself). Not so different from the previous two films except less a cappella.
The rival bands are all stereotypes – Evermoist are elegant and savvy rock chicks led by Calamity (Ruby Rose), Saddle Up is country and Young Sparrow and DJ Dragon Nutz (Trinidad James and DJ Looney) are rap hip-hop. Add the a cappella Bellas and it’s an odd mix that could only happen in a movie. It’s an obvious and shallow device to create instrument envy and angst for the songbirds.
It feels a bit like movie making by numbers: a nonsensical plot device that brings back Gail (Elizabeth Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins) in their roles as commentators, a competition that includes the obligatory riff-off, a moment of moral angst for Becca (Anna Kendrick) and lots of warm fuzzy sisterhood. For a change, the main action in the story is not the music but an absurd subplot that features Amy’s dad (John Lithgow) mangling an Aussie accent (for ages I thought he was supposed to be a cockney). It involves a yacht, a jelly wrestling coach, the Cayman Islands and Britney Spears. There is little difference to any of the characters and the finale is as sentimental and fantastical as you would expect from something so in substantial.
Having said that, it was quite fun and there were a few lines that genuinely made me laugh. I was expecting a bit more of an LGBT story line with the casting of Ruby Rose and the hints through all three films of a Becca/Chloe ‘ship’ (Bechloe) but sadly this didn’t eventuate. I wouldn’t go out of your way to see this one but if you’re at a loose end at the end of a hard day and it comes on Netflix, perhaps give it a whirl.Have you seen this film? Are you willing to admit it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.