Thursday Movie Club
Pitch Perfect trailer
Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school's all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus a capella competition.
Based on the non-fiction novel of the same name - which explored real-life a capella rivalries at colleges in the US - this unusual feel-good musical is most notable for its assured performance of Up in the Air's Anna Kendrick and the presence of plus-size Aussie novelty Rebel Wilson.
Playing out with slightly more grit than television phenomenon Glee, this Bring It On-style campus romp follows Beca (Kendrick) as she reluctantly attends class to appease her father. Beca dreams of moving to Los Angeles to be a DJ. At Barden University, though, the Bellas are in dire need of help, having failed spectacularly at last year's championship finals. Naturally, Beca takes some cajoling before she agrees to rehearse for the snooty sorority types - her nifty cup routine while performing You're Gonna Miss Me (a real-life viral video hit) ultimately seals the deal - while a reasonable enough love interest, Jesse (Skylar Astin), fawns on the sidelines while singing in rival male outfit the Treble Makers (get it?).
Kendrick is in fine form: she can sing (and dance), which is hardly a shock, given her formative years on Broadway (where she enjoyed a Tony nod, no less). She also boasts an undeniable screen presence, which lifts this up a notch from its modest confines. Exuding ''nerdy cool'', Kendrick may yet prove a poster kid.
Wilson, naturally, also garners attention as Fat Amy, as her character is so wryly self-titled. Wilson riffs off Kendrick rather nicely, too, even if the script relies a little too much on the formulaic fat, friendless routine. Having caused a bit of a stir in the US, it'll be interesting to see how high her star can rise.
Elizabeth Banks, meanwhile, as a co-commentator on the championships, is a hoot: one only wishes we could have seen more of her on screen (she co-produces the film as well). A greater emphasis on the caustic, dry wit that makes Banks such a dependable comedic force would have been nice. That partly explains, perhaps, why Pitch Perfect has had such a soft run at the US box office, despite a positive reception by audiences and critics.
A tricky film to pitch to cinemagoers - it's almost too cynical to appeal to Glee types, not harsh enough for others - it remains an enjoyable enough affair, and adds to Kendrick's growing arsenal of roles.
Pitch Perfect opens in Australian cinemas today.
Also opening today:
Clint Eastwood's new film Trouble with the Curve tells the story of an ailing baseball scout in his twilight years who takes his daughter along for one last recruiting trip. Also stars Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake.
In the pipeline:
Roman Coppola's second feature A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III is soon to be released, and some people are saying that it *may* revive Charlie Sheen's career. Jason Schwarzman and Bill Murray also appear in the film, which has this plot summary: "a graphic designer's enviable life slides into despair when his girlfriend breaks up with him".
Take a look.