11.30.2014

Movies: Pitch Perfect

This was the kind of movie I had to be in exactly the right mood to watch, which is why I waited so long to see it. I'm glad I did. Both wait and see it, that is. I'm glad I waited because being in the right frame of mind was key to my enjoyment. And I'm glad I saw it because it's a cute movie.

For those of you even more behind than I am, Pitch Perfect is about rival acapella (yes, I'm using that rather than "a capella") groups at the fictitious Barden University, supposedly in Atlanta, Georgia, but filmed in Louisiana. The male group is the Treble Makers, and the female group is the Barden Bellas. There are actually two other acapella groups at the school, but they're mere blips in the story. And doesn't four seem like a lot?

Anyway, central to the story is Beca, who is going to Barden free because her dad is a professor there. But what she really wants to do is jet off to L.A. and try her hand at becoming a professional DJ. Her love is mixing music. Beca's dad tells her that, if he sees her really put in an effort to join in the college life and she still doesn't love it after freshman year, he'll help settle her in L.A. So, after being accosted in the communal shower, Beca tries out for and joins the Bellas.

Whoever wrote this—and I believe it's based on a book?—really liked the letter "B."

Beca also strikes up a friendship with Jesse, who in turn becomes a member of the Treble Makers. Bellas are forbidden from fraternizing with Trebles. You'd think this would cause a bunch more tension in the film, but surprisingly it doesn't really add much to the story at all.

A couple things stuck out to me while watching. One, Jesse is a bit of an asshole for dropping Beca when she won't take it to the next level with him. Okay, yes, she gets bitchy. But when she apologizes, he won't accept it. If he at least valued her as a friend, he would relent. But there's a definite sense that he doesn't forgive her basically because she won't be his girlfriend and kiss him or sleep with him or whatever. Like, he was her friend for as long as he felt he had a shot. Once it was clear he didn't, he dropped her.

On the flip side, though, turning the trope on its head is Beca having to win Jesse over rather than the boy winning the girl. And that's kind of fun.

The core story is of the groups competing through various levels of regional/state/whatever singing competitions. Very standard for the genre. And I do think competition films are their own genre of sorts. Dodgeball, for example. Bring It On and Step Up and all those types of films. They're basically underdog movies, right? Pretty formulaic. But because I actually love to sing (did a bit of it as an undergrad myself), I was more engaged in Pitch Perfect than I might have been in other such films. I found Beca refreshingly unaffected and the supporting cast of characters charming and funny. I could do without the vomit (yech), but other than that, I found it to be a cut movie overall.

A second film is due out next May. I don't know if I'd make it a point to see it in the cinema, but . . . Maybe if the mood strikes me just right . . .

1 comment:

Trisha F said...

I haven't seen this one either, but it's the kind of 'fluff' I would probably greatly enjoy. ;)