Pitch Perfect was a groundbreaking effort that helped to redefine the musical with an all-girl acapella singing group called the Barden Bellas. The original and subsequent sequel were unprecedented hits and helped to catapult Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Hailee Steinfeld’s careers into the Hollywood and musical stratosphere. Pitch Perfect 3 became a foregone conclusion once the cast chose to come back to reprise their roles. The question is whether the ladies should don the matching outfits and blow the pitch pipe one last time or should they have gone out on the high note of Pitch Perfect 2?
Life after winning the world championships has not been the upward trajectory for the Bellas that most thought it would be after graduating university. Between crushed dreams and less than exciting career opportunities, they all seek after the glory days of singing together. When presented with a chance to sing to the American military troops throughout Europe with the USO, the majority of the group jump at the opportunity to sing again. This continental tour opens the door for Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) to reconnect with her father who happens to be a world-renowned leader in organised crime. Between the competition with the tour’s other bands and Amy’s familial drama, this adventure across Europe turns into a misadventure that is more than what the singing group had planned.
The original musical outing became an unqualified hit because of the fresh and moving elements of these women pursuing their dreams, the acapella vocal prowess of the groups and the chemistry between all of the Bellas. The sequel was lighter on a story, maintained the high-quality musical performances, but made the unfortunate choice to bring Rebel Wilson from the background to the front of the group. With the third instalment in this franchise, everything that was good about the original gets forgotten, and the weakest element gets pushed to the forefront. The writer of all three screenplays, Kay Cannon, must have forgotten that the stage productions are the centrepiece of this franchise, but it does help to a semblance of a storyline for people to connect with the characters. This chapter in the life of the Bellas is light on music and becomes an arduous and slapstick vehicle for Rebel Wilson. Proving that the Australian comedian only has one schtick to her acting abilities and shows that it has run its course.
Understandably, Australians should be celebrating with Wilson and Ruby Rose being in lead roles, but most will be rolling their eyes at the performance of John Lithgow who plays Wilson’s on-screen father. Between his poorly executed accent and the ridiculous inclusion of the crime syndicate in this script, audiences will groan in unison as opposed to singing along with the cast in enjoyment. To the producers of Pitch Perfect 3, this a lesson in quitting while you are ahead. With a suggestion to fans of the series to stay home, watch the first two films and act like the third instalment never happened. In true Bella’s form and vernacular, this was Aca-awful!
REEL DIALOGUE: What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film?
Stories like that seen in Pitch Perfect 3 reach in and grab people’s hearts, because deep in our spirit we hope that we could overcome great odds and achieve something extraordinary with our lives. Yet, most of us will never have our lives become the focus of books, articles or movies. Does that mean that our lives mean any less to the world than that of this team of singers? Not according to the Bible, in Psalm 139 it states that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God which moves our lives from ordinary to extraordinary. Not because of who we are, but because of who made us.
1. What does the future hold? (The book of Revelation, James 4:13-16)
2. Can we solve our own problems? (Proverbs 3:5, Philippians 4:6)
3. Is there anything wrong with following your dreams? (Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 6:33)