A mix between the cheerleading comedy Bring it On and the TV series Glee, Tony Award-nominated director Jason Moore’s debut film Pitch Perfect will cater mostly to indiscriminate teenagers looking for a few laughs. It does, however, have a surprising mean streak, which makes sense if considering Moore’s past work on Broadway. As head of the popular adult-themed puppet musical Avenue Q, Moore is conscious of his sardonic side. It’s emphasized by screenwriter Kay Cannon (TV’s 30 Rock), who pays more attention to the cattier aspects of the story in lieu of what should be most important: the music. It doesn’t help that Cannon repeatedly reminds audiences that a cappella singers are the geekiest people on the planet. Each of these exaggerations is a squandered opportunity to add a genuinely written character into the choir.
Like the comedy Joyful Noise earlier this year, Pitch Perfect is a conventional film built around an entertaining soundtrack. It will be especially enjoyable for audiences who can appreciate the harmony created by the contemporary a cappella groups featured here. With hip renditions of Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” and Flo Rida’s “Right Round,” among others, the best advice to follow would be to skip the theater and log on to iTunes.
★★ ½ (out of 5 stars)
Dir. Jason Moore; writ. Kay Cannon; feat. Anna Kendrick, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Skylar Astin, Alexis Knapp, Ben Platt (PG-13)
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