The original Pitch Perfect was released in 2012 directed by Jason Moore, and was about college freshman Beca joining her school acapella group (the Barden Bellas) – and joining them in various hijinks as they attempted to win the college acapella competition. Pitch Perfect 2 was directed by Elizabeth Banks and saw the Bellas struggling to pull together some of the new Bellas as each of the older members tried to consider the next step after graduating.
That brings us up to Pitch Perfect 3 directed by Trish Sie and the majority of the original Bellas have moved on to their adult lives, trying to start their careers and move forward. Beca is working with music executives, and producing songs for up and coming stars, but feeling creatively stifled. Invited by the current Bellas to a Bella reunion, the graduated class realizes how much they have missed each other and how badly they want to sing together again.
Aubrey’s father is in the military, and a bit of a big wig, so she gets the Bellas invited to a USO tour, that – of course – is also a competition between musical groups to see who will open for DJ Khaled and get a recording contract.
This puts the Bellas up against country group Saddle Up (confusingly played by country group Whiskey Shivers), Young Sparrow and DJ Dragon Nutz (a rapper/DJ combo), and the band Evermoist, and yes, while that name might make you cringe, even more cringe-worthy is the way the Evermoist band members say it when introducing themselves. “Hello – we’re (pause, whimper) Evermoist”. The Bellas do quite well in most of the concerts, and after one evening, get up to DJ Khaled’s very fancy hotel suite after-party.
Here, hijinks ensue as Amy realizes her criminal father Fergus has found her, Beca impresses Kahled’s producer Theo with some of her mixing/producing skills, Chole flirts with military man Chicago, and the Bellas accidentally set the suite on fire. Impressed with her skills – Khaled asks Beca to open for him as a solo act, which she declines, being part of the Bellas – but the Bellas get kidnapped by Amy’s father, who is after the 18 million dollars that Amy suddenly has in a trust in the Caribbean.
Amy and Beca stage a complicated acapella-distraction rescue, and save the Bellas just in time for Beca to get back and open for DJ Khaled, where she starts alone, but then definitely calls the Bellas onstage with her to have one last swan song together.
Overall, the movie is fun, but not as fun as some of the previous outings. It is definitely the friendship between the cast that makes the movie so watchable, as well as the great music. There’s less acapella in this movie than in the previous installments, which is a bit of a shame. Also – the introduction of Amy’s criminal father is bizarre, but hey – just go with it.
- Anna Kendrick continues to shine as Beca Mitchell, a sarcastic and witty skilled musician. What I really appreciated is that while showing her flirtation with Theo, they don’t end up lip-locked – just working together.
- Rebel Wilson plays Patricia “Fat Amy” Hobart, charming, fun, unreliable, and destructive. She’s hilarious in these movies and always fun to watch. I really enjoyed the fight scenes while she and Beca were breaking onto her father’s yacht.
- Brittany Snow plays Chloe Beale, who is working on getting into veterinary school just before they head back on tour.
- Anna Camp plays Aubrey Posen, who is just as tightly-wound as she has ever been, even more so now that she doesn’t have the Bellas to sing with regularly. The sudden add-on of her father issues were a little forced, but that is how they ended up on the USO tour, so that works, I guess.
- Hailee Steinfeld plays Emily Junk – now a senior at Barden University who goes on tour with the Bellas since Stacie is having a baby. She’s basically there as the butt of Amy’s jokes.
- Hana Mae Lee plays Lilly Onakuramara, the suspiciously quiet Bella who is still making crazy comments.
- Ester Dean plays Cynthia-Rose Adams who is failing flight school when the USO tour comes around.
- Chrissie Fit plays Florencia Fuentes, the one Bella who seems to have her life together post-graduating, owning her own juice-food truck.
- Kelley Jakle and Shelley Regner plays Jessica and Ashley who are “the other Bellas”. So much so that there is a joke in this movie when Amy says, “I don’t even know why Jessica and Ashley are here.” Jessica asks if they are talking about them, and Ashley responds that would be ridiculous. Their fringe participation is played for a joke and is really hilarious.
- John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks are back as John and Gail, the acapella commentating duo who are currently creating a documentary about the Bellas, so follow them around with cameras and demeaning narration.
- John Lithgow plays Amy’s dad Fergus, and I have to say, I was completely perplexed by that. His Australian accent is just awful, and at no point does he seem in any way like a man capable of being an international criminal. I’m sure there are multiple older Australian actors who could have done this, hell, I’m almost positive Hugh Jackman would have done it if they asked, and he would have been awesome in this role!
- Matt Lanter plays Chicago – who is there for exposition and for Chloe to drool over.
- Guy Burnett plays Theo – who is there to remind us how talented Beca is.
- Ruby Rose, Andy Allo, Venzella Joy Williams, and Hannah Fairlight play Evermoist – named Calamity, Serenity, Charity, and Veracity.
Overall, the movie is perfectly pleasant, and definitely has some fun moments. It really would have benefitted from outtakes over the end credits, as the best part of the movie is the obvious fun the cast has together.
6 out of 10. Lost points for the odd casting of John Lithgow.