Pitch Perfect 3

 

star

 


The “pitches” head to Europe on a USO tour and bloodless bedlam ensues.

   
Pitch Perfect 3

Not entirely perfect...

 

The signs are not good. The brilliantly witty festive slogan for the final act in this femcom trilogy is “Merry Pitchmas”. Geddit? It’s Christmas, the film is Pitch Perfect 3. If this does not warn off potential cinemagoers, then nothing will. The surprising credit in the maelstrom of talent liquidized in this junky rip-off is Mike White as co-scenarist. This is the same Mike White who brought us School of Rock and this year’s award-winning Beatriz at Dinner. There are some diverting snippets of dialogue, but they are largely lost in the mechanized direction of filmmaker Trish Sie, who cut her teeth directing music videos for the alt-rock band OK Go. The one-liners one remembers are mainly delivered by Rebel Wilson, the film’s comic motor, even though what comes out of her mouth is not, technically, extraordinary (“My grandmother’s in a band right now, [called] Never Moist”).

 

In a nutshell, our pitch perfect heroines are the a cappella group the Bellas, who starred in the sleeper hit Pitch Perfect (2012) and its phenomenally successful sequel, Pitch Perfect 2 (2015), now the highest-grossing musical comedy of all time, beating School of Rock into second place. Another sequel was inevitable. Here, the ten nightingales audition their way onto a USO tour entertaining the troops in Europe and once they get to first base the clichés start firing. There’s competition with a rival girl group headed by the spiteful Calamity (Ruby Rose) along with Serenity, Charity and Veracity (Rebel Wilson: “If I joined them, I could be Obesity”). There’s also some paltry romantic overtures, a father-and-daughter reunion (with John Lithgow savaging an Australian accent) and even a kidnapping plot.

 

Any political commentary on American-European relations is squandered, although Rebel Wilson does sport a cap with the legend “Make America Eat Again”. And there we go again: it’s all about Rebel Wilson. The film’s central character is actually Beca Mitchell, who gets an unexpected career break, but as played by Anna Kendrick she is pretty much a vacuum at the heart of a vacuum. So we get the usual array of reaction shots (wide-eyed amazement), the “pitches” walking towards the camera in slow motion and a scene of slapstick mayhem that looks like it was choreographed by a baboon. And the “funny” music is dispiriting. Good comedy should not reveal itself: if it’s funny, it’s funny. Only John Michael Higgins seems to understand this. He plays a blatantly sexist documentarian who, on seeing Beca land a prize gig, mutters gravely on camera that, again, she’s “taking another job from a perfectly able-bodied man.”

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, John Lithgow, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner, Alexis Knapp, Chrissie Fit, John Michael Higgins, Elizabeth Banks, Matt Lanter, Guy Burnet, DJ Khaled, Ruby Rose, Andy Allo, Hannah Fairlight.

 

Dir Trish Sie, Pro Elizabeth Banks, Paul Brooks and Max Handelman, Screenplay Kay Cannon and Mike White, Ph Matthew Clark, Pro Des Toby Corbett, Ed Craig Alpert and Colin Patton, Music Christopher Lennertz, Costumes Salvador Pérez Jr.

 

Gold Circle Films/Marc Platt Productions/Brownstone Productions-Universal Pictures.

93 mins. USA. 2017. Rel: 20 December 2017. Cert. 12A.