Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Movie Review: Pitch Perfect (PG13 - 112 minutes)

Here's something you probably don't know about me.  I have recently developed a love for acapella singing groups.  I enjoy watching "the Sing Off" when it is on TV, because I am amazed when a group of random people can harmonize unbelievably well - especially when they work in various percussion and other instrumental sound effects - no instruments, just voices.
Every season on "the Sing Off", there is at least one - if not more - collegiate acapella groups.  It's been a 'thing' for a long time on college campuses, and the competitions are pretty serious.  It was inevitable then, that we would get a comedy movie about it.
Taken from a book and turned into a screenplay by Kay Cannon who is a 30 Rock writer, the story follows Beca as she begins her freshman year at Barden University.  Beca has no interest in college and would prefer to move to L.A. to begin her career mixing music as a DJ.   Her father, however, works at Barden and makes a deal with her that if she gives college a try, and starts participating, but really can't make it work, he'll fund her move to L.A.  She joins the Bellas, the Barden all-female acapella group, who have performed the same choreography and songs for years, and attempts to bring some new life and energy to the group as they compete against the Treblemakers, the schools impressive all-male group.  Hilarious hijinks ensue.
And when I say hilarious hijinks - I mean it - this is far and away the funniest movie I have seen in a long time, and possibly all year (the only other truly hilarious movie being 21 Jump Street - and this might beat that out)!  Perfectly directed by Jason Moore, who has directed broadway plays (Avenue Q), and various TV episodes previous to this, the movie makes great use of the actors' singing abilities as well as the amazing comedic chops that many of them have.  There are several scenes that are clearly improved, and are fantastic - it really made me wish for a Gag Reel over the credits.  The story moves along quickly without overdoing any particular sequence or situation.  Beca's backstory is given just enough description to make you understand where she is coming from, and believe her character arc in the movie.  I also enjoyed how the movie from time to time gets close to slapstick, without going too far.  It's completely funny but also has a few touching scenes.
The cast is a perfect mix of comedians, singers, songwriters, and the occasional actor. 
  • Anna Kendrick, who apparently has done a lot of Broadway, even being nominated for a Tony (who knew? but now I feel bad for only thinking of her as 'that girl from Twilight) does a great job as Beca.  When she first shows up as a slightly alternative wannabe DJ, I wasn't sure I would buy her in that role (it's a little like the Eliza Dushku role from Bring It), being that the last thing I really saw her in was Up in The Air, where she was very business-y and conservative.  She really proved me wrong and brings a simple genuiness to Beca, not to mention - she's a pretty good singer!
  • Skylar Astin plays Jesse, the love interest who is a freshman as well and ends up joining the Treblemakers.  He looks a lot like a younger Zachary Levi - and sings just as well.  He is very funny, and seems very at ease in this role.
  • Ben Piatt plays Benji - Jesse's roommate, up-close magician, and singer.  A great character with an arc that in a more serious movie could have taken a really dark turn; but in this picture stays wonderful and fun, for which I am grateful.
  • Brittany Snow from Harry's Law and Hairspray (the most recent movie, not the Broadway play, or the first movie) plays Chole, who recruits Beca to the Bellas.  She is charming, over-the-top, and funny!
  • And speaking of over-the-top, Anna Camp plays Aubrey, the dictator of the Bellas, feeling the pressure because she is one of the two remaining Bellas after the rest graduated.  She has done quite a bit of TV before.  She does have - within the first five minutes - one of the most extensive vomit scenes I have seen in a while - you may want to avert your eyes!
  • There are many other talented singer/actresses rounding out the group, including Alexis Knapp (playing Stacie, was in Project X), Esther Dean (playing Cynthia Rose, actually a songwriter who has co-written Katy Perry's Firework, Nikki Minaj's SuperBass, and Kelly Clarkson's Mr. Know It All - as well as S&M by Rhianna, which she sings in the movie), Hanna Mae Lee (plays Lilly, a comedian, artist, and fashion designer), Kelly Jakle (plays Jessica - and competed on 'the Sing Off' with the Back Beats), Wanetah Walmsley (plays Denise, and was in Drive Angry).
  • I do want to briefly mention Freddie Stroma who plays Luke - the manager of the college radio station at which Beca finds a part time job.  He has a degree in neuroscience from University College in London.  You will understand why I find that mystifying once you get a glimpse of him in the movie.
  • Christopher Minz-Plasse has what I would consider to be a cameo as the audition-wrangler.  He also has a great monologue explaining why this is not Glee and why it is better than Glee - without using the word Glee...check that out!
  • The lead for the TrebleMakers is Bumper, played by Adam Devine, the writer and creator of Comedy Central's workaholics and a very funny stand-up.  He's a good singer as well, and brings a lot of funny to his unbelievably arrogant character.
  • The second for the TrebleMakers is Donald, played by Utkarsh Ambudkar who has done some TV work in the past, and really stands out in this small role.
  • John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks are absolutely hilarious as the competition commentators.  Elizabeth Banks also produced this movie, and I wonder if their scenes were mostly improv because their interaction is fantastic.
  • The absolute star of this movie is Rebel Wilson, an Australian stand-up who stole all of her scenes in Bridesmaids.  You can tell from all the trailers of this movie that she is funny, but she can also sing, and perform, and again steals this picture.  Her comedic timing is amazing, her personality reads as completely genuine, plus there is the genius of her character calling herself "Fat Amy", so that no one can do it behind her back.  Simple and powerful.  Again - there is one outtake of her over the credits - but I just want to see the entire gag reel now!
So - in summary, go see this now.  It's a wonderful piece of harmless fluffy fun that comes just at the right time, before everything turns into long depressing Oscar-y type movies.
8 out of 10!  Lost points for the aforementioned vomit scene...I mean, really.  Gained points for Rebel Wilson - pleast put her in everything.  Lost points for continuing to push the agenda that being a DJ is making music.  Some of them do make music yes, and those are the exceptions - but mixing other songs together - well, I suppose it does take some skill...Gained points for Freddie Stroma.
Bonus Video 1:  acapella group Delilah on the Sing Off - how amazing an all-girl acapella group can sound:
Bonus Video 2:  Rebel Wilson's rap star alter-ego, Rebelicious - hilarious:
Bonus Video 3:  Pitch Perfect Clip:
Bonus Video 4: Cast Interviews!

1 comment:

  1. It plays around with its premise and idea in a goofy and fun way, but never fully comes around and takes us by surprise. Still, you’ll have a good time regardless. Nice review Jeanette.