Movie Review: “Pitch Perfect 3”
With Beca (Anna Kendrick) having just quit her job, Amy (Rebel Wilson) reminds her that the current Bellas have asked the former Bellas to join them for a reunion night. At the event, Beca and Amy are reunited with the rest of their former group, where each member is stressed out about their lives in one way or another. Each member of the former Bellas miss the good old days of performing together and are thrilled to be back together again. Aubrey (Anna Camp) tells the group that DJ Khalid is hosting a USO tour. He has invited a few groups to perform and, at the end of the tour, DJ Khalid will choose one group to open for him on his worldwide tour.
Aubrey also tells the group that her father (a high ranking military official) can get them into the “competition”. The group leaps at the opportunity, so they go overseas to perform as the Bellas once again. The Bellas are excited, but this is the first time they will have to compete against bands with real instruments and it will surely be there toughest challenge yet. The Bellas are back and more motivated than ever, but trouble is looming. A mysterious man (John Lithgow) stalks the Bellas in an attempt to reunite with his long lost daughter, Amy.
The Pros & Cons
Rebel Wilson [ft. John Lithgow] (+6pts)
The Music [ft. Anna Kendrick] (+5pts)
The Competition (-4pts)
The Commentators (+3pts)
The Action (-2pts)
Pro: Rebel Wilson [ft. John Lithgow] (+6pts)
This was probably my favorite part of the movie. I am a huge fan of John Lithgow, and Rebel Wilson has proven herself as the most entertaining character in this franchise. With that in mind, I was really looking forward to watching both of these actors and their characters’ relationship. Fortunately, my anticipation proved to be correct as these two were, arguably, the most entertaining part of the movie.
I will be honest, Rebel Wilson does a lot of the heavy lifting here. She has found great success in playing the comedic relief of the first two films, and this film is no different. Her line delivery and comedic timing are so much fun to watch. This woman is funny and will have audiences laughing with nearly every single line she delivers. After two films, expectations were high for this character. Amy lives up to those expectations perfectly while getting a fresh look at the character through the introduction of her father.
John Lithgow plays a great side character in this movie. He does not get a lot to do but his charisma gives the character great screen presence. He was funny and was able to switch between tones naturally. The film required this character to be comedic and dramatic while fitting an action-film stereotype. John Lithgow balanced it all very naturally, but does it subtly and does not take focus from other characters. He played a perfect complementary character for Rebel Wilson and was a lot of fun to watch. It is hard to argue this guy‘s talent and this movie is further proof of that.
Con: Generic (-4pts)
I liked the film but I felt like it suffered from sequelitis. It followed the same format as the previous two films, but it struggled to bring new things to the table. The first example of this is the competition, but I will get into that a little later (it deserves its own section). This movie introduces a handful of new characters, but all of them feel shallow, stale, or generic. They throw in potential love interests for a few of the girls but none have any chemistry so end up being very forgettable.
While I have mentioned the new characters, the plot of the film was just as generic. The film really did not do anything that has not been done before. It was like the filmmakers took a “Pitch Perfect script template”, then threw in a few new things and characters without developing or exploring any of them.
Pro: The Music [ft. Anna Kendrick] (+5pts)
Anna Kendrick will not be blowing anyone’s mind with this movie, but she once again nails a character that audiences can relate to easily. Rebel Wilson is an essential part of these films because she is a reliable comedic relief. Anna Kendrick is essential because she pulls audiences into the film. The music is just as fun as it was in the previous films and Anna Kendrick has a great voice but, through all the music and comedy, audiences have to care about the events of the story. Anna Kendrick gives a relatable main character that allows the audience to do just that.
Con: The Competition (-4pts)
The competition was definitely one of the strongest and most effective elements of the last two movies. For this movie, it was one of the weakest. It felt generic and bland, as if the film was just “going through the motions”. There was a competition, of sorts, but it lacked any suspense. This time around, the Bellas are performing against groups of various genres and styles. The opposing groups have guitars, drums, and one even has a DJ. This could have been the most compelling competition of the three movies, but Pitch Perfect 3 failed to give its competition proper focus.
The movie hardly focuses on the competition at all, and when it does, the filmmakers seemed more concerned with the backstage rivalries than with the actual performances. We see plenty of backstage antics and juvenile rivalries but we spend little time seeing these groups perform. This, unfortunately, makes the few performances feel like irrelevant filler.
Pro: The Commentators (+3pts)
I am not sure if everyone feels the same way about these characters, but the humor from the commentators hit me in the right way. The overly misogynistic comments make for a hilarious tone in a comedic film like this. These characters are constantly insulting the Bellas, but they come across as a couple of idiots which makes the comedy work really well.
They are very successful as a comedic relief in the first two movies. In Pitch Perfect 3, the characters feel forced into the plot l, but the characters’ idiocy makes it forgivable. In this movie, they are just as successful as a comedic relief duo and are able to keep the laughs coming while Amy is not on screen. These characters are extremely over-the-top and definitely overly misogynistic, but the tone and comedic timing from John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks prove (once again) to be a successful combination.
Con: The Action (-2pts)
The action in this film was fine, in the sense that it looked good and was not sloppy. There was no shaky-cam, the stunts were cool, the fight choreography was decent, and it had a comedic tone to it. My problem with the action of this film was that it was unnecessary, felt out of place, and took focus away from the things that worked so well in the previous films. The action was decent and comedic but it felt like a distraction.
It felt like the filmmakers tried to go in a somewhat different direction with Pitch Perfect 3, but they also tried to maintain what worked well in the last two movies. Rather than incorporate action elements into the competition storyline, the filmmakers separated these two things with a figurative fence. We had the action storyline on one side, the competition storyline on the other, and the filmmakers sat firmly on the middle of the fence. Both the action and the competition had entertaining things to offer but the filmmakers of Pitch Perfect 3 struggled to find the balance and both storylines suffered.
Grade: C+ (79pts)
Pitch Perfect 3 was a lackluster third installment of a hit series of movies. The filmmakers tried to balance the line between giving fans what they expect to see and giving them something fresh. Rather than incorporate fresh elements to the competition storyline, the filmmakers decided separate the two (expected and fresh). We basically had two storylines. We had the competition and the action. There were two storylines and two climaxes. The filmmakers tried to balance when they should have blended. As a result, both storylines felt hollow and underdeveloped.
Fortunately, the movie had Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy. She is easily the best part of the last two movies and this movie is no different. Pretty much every line is delivered in a comedic way that hits the audience just right. Rebel Wilson has fantastic comedic timing and is the comedic powerhouse of the film. As great as Rebel Wilson is in these movies, take nothing away from Anna Kendrick. She has a great voice that works really well with the A cappella style, but she also provides the film with a very likable and relatable main character. Mix the movie‘s problems with these two actresses, and some fun music and the fans are left with a flawed, but entertaining, movie.