'Pitch Perfect' Looks Like a Younger, Groovier 'Bridesmaids'
The movie, set in the world of college a cappella singing groups, offers a smart, female-centric take on the material.
It's surprising that Hollywood has taken this long to bring a cappella mania to the big screen -- especially with the success of NBC's reality competition The Sing-Off -- but based on its first trailer, Pitch Perfect looks to have been well worth the wait.
The inspiration here is that the movie brings a female-centric, lightly raunchy spin to the material that owes more than a little DNA to Bridesmaids. Not surprising, then, to see scene-stealing Aussie comic Rebel Wilson, who played Kristen Wiig's roommate in the latter, featured heavily here as "Fat Amy," the group's balls-to-the-wall comic relief.
The story, from a script by 30 Rock vet Kay Cannon loaded with sharp, darkly observed one-liners ("Welcome to Barton University. Here's your official B.U. rape whistle."), revolves around frosh student Beca (Anna Kendrick) being cajoled into joining The Bellas -- an all-girls singing group with a musty repertoire.
Reluctant at first, Beca gives The Bellas a much-needed injection of vitality, and it's not long before the group is facing down their all-male rivals in an empty swimming pool for an 8 Mile-style "riff-off" performance of Blackstreet's "No Diggity."
There's a risk here that audiences could be burned out on stories revolving around campus-set performance competitions -- dozens of "regionals" episodes of Glee will do that -- but the material here seems original enough, and more importantly funny enough, to stand on its own. If anything, Pitch Perfect looks to be less of a big-screen Glee than it does a younger, groovier Bridesmaids.
And while Kendrick, at 26, is admittedly a little old to be playing a college freshman, the always appealing actress may have found her best starring vehicle since 2009's Up in the Air.