Following in the footsteps of her probable mentor, we have another TV writer trying to strike gold in the world of film. But let me get this out of the way right now – Kay Cannon is no Tina Fey. Having worked on 30 Rock (OK, only 12 credited episodes), I was willing to give her adaptation of Mickey Rapkin’s novel Pitch Perfect a little bit of wiggle room. But no matter how funny the trailer may seem, expectations can be everything. I thought it looked ok whereas my wife thought it looked great and we were both let down, whereas a colleague thought it looked horrible didn’t think it was that bad, but trust us, it is.
In the film version of Pitch Perfect we meet Beca (Anna Kendrick), a freshman at Barden University. She’s on a free ride thanks to her professor father. Chloe (Brittany Snow) and Aubrey (Anna Camp) run the Barden Bellas and a mere four months ago lost their chance at winning the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella when Aubrey tossed her cookies all over the third row much to the delight of the judges (John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks).
The Bellas are out to save face and recruit a new group of singers. Aubrey can’t seem to cut loose. She stands by tradition forcing everyone, including Beca and Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), to do as she says even though Beca wants to try something new. Beca wants to work in the music industry and mixes mashups on her laptop when she’s not interning at the campus radio station. Now the Bellas must work together to win the ICCA and defeat the Barden boys team, the Treblemakers run by Bumper (Adam DeVine), while Beca is doing everything she can to not fall in love with the film obsessed Jesse (Skylar Astin).
What’s interesting is that Rapkin’s original book follows three separate a cappella college groups whereas Cannon chose to simply mash everything together to follow one girl and her ins and outs with rom-com clichés. It’s sad to see Elizabeth Banks listed as Producer because it’s obvious she somehow got roped into this while Cannon was working on 30 Rock. Although you can’t help but consider Banks and Higgins the film’s biggest assets as they get all the best lines. That is until she’s reduced to playing air guitar with his leg. Some people may still not be sold on Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids and Bachelorette) but here she’s kept to a supporting character and comes off with some great lines.
Meanwhile, poor Kendrick walks around looking like she’s daydreaming about all the roles she turned down to get stuck in this one. Between this and the Twilight series, she must consider herself truly blessed whenever she gets to show up in something like 50/50, Up in the Air, or Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The name of the game here is the overuse of slapping “a ca” in front of as many words as possible and resorting at least one character to making snow angels in a pool of vomit. But the most deadly thing Pitch Perfect truly has against it however, is that it’s “a ca-boring.”
Photos courtesy Universal Pictures