Saturday, December 30, 2017

Movie Review: Pitch Perfect 3

Tonight I went to see the movie that made Pitch Perfect a trilogy. I'll be honest: I loved the first one, and I was very disappointed with the second. So I didn't have high expectations for the third - and that's probably why I liked it. With some caveats, of course.

If you're not familiar, Pitch Perfect was the story of a scrappy group of college a cappella singers who prove to the world that all-woman groups can do good a cappella music. Pitch Perfect 2 was the story of a disgraced group of college a cappella singers who prove that a cappella groups can perform original music. Pitch Perfect 3 is the story of down-on-their-luck college graduates, who prove that great a cappella singers sometimes perform with instruments.

The movie opens with an awesome arrangement of Britney Spears's "Toxic." I'll be honest, this just made me happy, because I love that song.

It's interrupted by Fat Amy busting through the ceiling with a fire extinguisher, dousing their captors as the others escape. Then Fat Amy and Beca jump off the boat as it explodes.

I literally said, "What?" at this point in the movie.

A subtitle tells us we're now going back 3 weeks to show what led to these insane events. Beca hates her job as a music producer, trying to make crappy music sound good only to be thrown under the bus, so she quits. Fat Amy and Chloe are Beca's roommates, and after Beca shares her news of being unemployed, the three meet up with their fellow singers for a Barton Bella reunion... only to discover, to their disappointment, that they won't be singing, just watching the current Barton Bellas.

It's here that we learn the girls are going through what these days is called (sadly, without a hint of irony) a quarter-life crisis. So they jump at a chance to perform together as a group again, on a USO tour, while competing for a spot as the opening act for DJ Khaled.

This story borrows pretty heavily from the previous two movies, with other groups throwing all kinds of shade at the Bellas, including a chick group called (I kid you not) Ever Moist - who are just Ever Salty. Fat Amy has moved on from her constant ginger jokes of the first movie to constant dumb Emily jokes. They're not as funny, but I'm thrilled they moved away from the Fat Amy schtick of Pitch Perfect 2, which consisted of, "Hey, Fat Amy is so fat. Just look at how fat she is. Isn't that funny? Oh by the way, she's really large." Even better, they dropped the unbelievably stereotypical jokes from (about) Florencia, their Guatemalan classmate.

Plus, Fat Amy redeems herself by showing she's pretty bad ass, as the B story deals with her reunion/conflict with her father (played by John Lithgow), a smuggler. Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins return in their roles as a cappella commentators. Ruby Rose is quite good as the lead singer of Ever Moist, and I was thrilled to see Andy Allo as a member of Ever Moist - I saw her perform at City Winery recently, and was really impressed with her. And I was almost super-excited when I saw music producer Theo, mainly because when he first appeared on screen, I thought it was Adam Scott. I was sad when I got another look and realized, alas, it was not. But the actual actor had a cute accent, so there's that.

So the movie was over-the-top and much-recycled. But it was cute, it had good vocal arrangements, it had some really funny moments but didn't seem to take itself too seriously. Overall, if you loved Pitch Perfect, you'll probably want to see this movie. It's not profound, it's not even terribly clever, but it's fun.

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