There are some evenings made for lounging with a tumbler of whiskey and a cheeseboard, watching a subtitled French movie about existentialism (weekly occurrence for me. You mean you don’t?) There are some evenings more suited to slouching on your friend’s sofa eating Chinese takeaway and watching an American teen movie featuring at least one of the stars of Hairspray (this might happen on a slightly more regular basis…)
Last night me and my posse of “biatches” finally got around to viewing the pre-Christmas offering Pitch Perfect . Featuring Anna Kendrick (who somehow starred in almost all of the Twilight movies without physically assaulting Kristen Stewart) as supposedly-alternative college freshman Beca, the film is billed as a Glee / Bridesmaids crossover, fitting in with the new kind of chick flick which recognises that women can laugh at vomit jokes.
Beca arrives at the fictional Barden college complete with excessive amounts of eye makeup and a chip on her shoulder, resting just underneath her over-sized DJ headphones. Forced to join college by her professor father, she is subsequently coerced into joining all-girl a capella group the Barden Bellas, who are desperate to make it to the collegiate a capella finals and beat their all-male Barden rivals The Treble-Makers.
Let’s be honest though, the plot doesn’t really matter. As with all classic chick flicks, Pitch Perfect features a hawt love interest, some girly drama and a feel-good finale. The real question is where it falls on the teen movie scale: can it reach the heady peaks of Mean Girls or Clueless, or is it left languishing in the She’s The Man valley? Personally, I’d put it somewhere in the foothills: a 4 out of 5 (if you want to be traditional about this).
There are some genuine laugh out loud moments, provided mainly by the superb supporting cast. Rebel Wilson has received plenty of praise for her portrayal of rotund songstress Fat Amy, and all of it is deserved. My stand out character was Lilly (Hanna Mae Lee) whose whispered one-liners are utter genius. And at the end of the day, if you like a capella mash-ups of pop songs, then prepare for a field day.
However, for a film that contains not one but two projectile-vomiting sequences, I still felt like it failed to push the boundaries enough to make it a classic. It’s the background details that impress, whereas Beca and love interest Jesse (Skylar Astin) fall into generic, slightly irritating teen movie roles. Anyone who falls for the idea that Beca is in any way “alternative” has clearly been living in a Justin Bieber covered bubble, and her moodiness comes across as undeserved teen whinging. Their conversations are teen-romance-by-numbers and the final kiss is anti-climatic. Still, Jesse has a cute smile and loves The Breakfast Club, so he can’t be all bad, right?
As I said, if you’re sitting around in your onesies with calorie-loaded food and some easy going friends, this is definitely one to watch. If you’re hoping for a philosophical take on modern capitalism, maybe give it a miss. Despite some flaws, this is on the whole an enjoyable, sometimes-hilarious romp; and they sing “No Diggity”.
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