Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow
Director: Trish Sie
Running Time: 93 mins
Pitch Perfect 3 is an American film and the third instalment in the Pitch Perfect series. Now attempting to settle into the workplace, the Barden Bellas find themselves coming together for a reunion, and one last singing competition as they tour Southern Europe with the US Army.
While the first two films in this series were harmlessly simple and cheesy movies aimed at teenage girls, there’s something about the absolute mess that is Pitch Perfect 3 that makes it a pretty painful watch. Lacking in the simplistic (albeit formulaic) structure of the first two, and instead flying all over the place with a series of ridiculous and annoying events, the film is really difficult to be fully engrossed by, made worse by awful dialogue, humour and performances throughout.
However, we’ll start off with the main reason that many people watch these movies: the music. At first, Pitch Perfect had some great musical mashups, while also bringing the premise of a cappella to light in a more fun and creative way than Glee. Pitch Perfect 2 followed much of the same trajectory, and as such wasn’t particularly thrilling, but still managed to blend in a few entertaining musical numbers with the film’s story, making for an easy watch regardless.
Pitch Perfect 3, however, doesn’t bother with trying to be original or even give context to the random musical outbursts. While the characters previously had either big ‘riff-offs’ or singing competitions to perform in, the majority of the singing here is very abrupt, and totally unconvincing in a real world situation.
Given that this isn’t a musical in the same sense as the likes of La La Land, The Sound Of Music and more (as the characters’ singing is heard by other characters), there needs to be a lot more care taken to make those musical outbursts more convincing. However, particularly during the film’s first act, every piece of a cappella that randomly erupts in a scene is incredibly grating to hear – not because it’s bad music – but because it’s so random and unfitting for whatever is happening in the movie at the time.
In fact, there’s a general theme of things not fitting particularly well throughout the whole of the movie. Most of the singing is very abrupt and jarring, however the screenplay also introduces a random action movie element into the story for the best part of fifteen minutes, and for seemingly no good reason.
While I can say that the bizarre action outburst is actually the best part of the whole film, proving fifteen minutes of pure stupidity to laugh at, the fact that the movie changes genre and world so abruptly (and so briefly) means that it doesn’t feel at all earned, but rather shoehorned in for some cheap laughs, which was very frustrating to see.
As I said, watching that idiotic action is definitely better than the painful opening act, which pretty much has no story except for some singing, so Pitch Perfect 3 is a movie that does get marginally better throughout, however as we build up to the finale, all is undone with yet another painfully cheesy series of events (as well as arguably the most abrupt and lazy film ending in history), ending it all on a rather low note.
The last two movies can’t claim to be masterpieces, but they at least managed to use a very simple structure, following the music competition, to make the singing believable and the story easy to follow. There is a music competition here, but it hardly takes centre stage in the same way, and seems to pass over in the space of about two minutes halfway through, giving way to the random action.
What’s more is that the humour here is just so poor. With the exception of yet another enjoyable supporting turn from Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins as the commentators, the jokes are cringeworthy at every turn, trying to be light enough for 12 year old girls to enjoy, and yet still be raunchy and adult enough to keep older viewers entertained, but instead making for yet more of an embarrassing mess that just won’t make you laugh.
The performances follow much of the same pattern. While Anna Kendrick is fine in the lead role again, she’s by no means either hilarious or emotionally riveting, not using her acting talents to the full here to make the film a little more worthy. Rebel Wilson’s performance, which is identical to the first two films, feels very tired now, the rest of the singing group are pretty unnoticeable and robotic (unlike the first film where they each had a little more to them), and new arrival John Lithgow puts in an awful turn with a terrible Australian accent, making for another laughably bad element to the movie.
On the whole, I really wasn’t a fan of Pitch Perfect 3. By far the worst in the series, it’s a messy, dull and often laughably bad movie that never manages to bring any intelligent or even simple and easy-going entertainment to the table, instead failing over and over again as it rushes the series to the finish line and a very underwhelming finale, which is why I’m giving it a 5.0.