I enjoyed the first Pitch Perfect. It was funny, the songs and performances were enjoyable and the chemistry with our main cast of gals was genuine. However, there’s a notable dip in quality with the sequel. It’s just unneeded fluff and generic Hollywood fodder. With Pitch Perfect 3 — the series finale — it’s clearly not a film for this critic. If fans enjoyed the first and second films in this now-complete trilogy, you may find life in an otherwise lifeless Pitch Perfect 3.
The film begins somewhere off the coast of France, where the Bellas are singing for three men on a yacht. Clearly, none of the women are comfortable and it seems there’s something else at play. The song is “Toxic,” which accurately describes the rest of the film. We’re then taken back three weeks earlier, where Beca (Anna Kendrick) is found in rapper Pimp-Lo’s (Moises Arias) office, trying to convince the artist that her direction for his new single is the best choice. Pimp-Lo is a mockery of rappers, with grills in his mouth, dirty dreads, a bandana and no shirt underneath his denim jacket. Sigh. The plot begins to unfold as we’re told by Aubrey (Anna Camp) that they’ve been invited to compete in a series of concerts for the troops in order to win over DJ Khaled (he’s actually in this film). The winning group would then go on to be the opening act for Khaled.
Moments thereafter are terribly unfunny for the most part. There’s pretty much everything in Pitch Perfect 3 that you’d come to expect from the series: riff-offs, groups with dissent towards one another and cliché comedy. This installment introduces a group named Evermoist (seriously — Evermoist?) led by Calamity (Ruby Rose), who are the Bellas biggest threat. Ruby Rose does not sell the vindictive, sinister antagonist in this one. That shouldn’t be a shocker, though, as her performance was flat in Orange is the New Black.
There’s nothing here that even resembles the first film in terms of humor and appeal. It doesn’t help that Anna Kendrick looks like she couldn’t care less about this film. Her performance is phoned-in. Rebel Wilson is given the spotlight in this one and it’s the film’s only saving grace, if there is one. She was the butt of many jokes, but she strikes out more often than not. Hey, a broken clock is right twice a day.
This series has had a new director each time, with Trish Sie at the helm for this one. Sie establishes in the first act that this film will not hold back any punches. There are sex jokes galore and even DJ Khaled getting a moment riddled with his annoying one-liners (Bless up, Miami) where he stops and stares off into the abyss mid-conversation as if he had forgotten his lines. It’s painful. It’s a waste of time.
Pitch Perfect 3 attempts to give depth to Fat Amy, however, and a familiar face in actor John Lithgow plays her father, Fergus. Boy, oh boy does this subplot forget that it’s a SUB-plot halfway through the film. What was a film about an a cappella group competing one final time became a Fat Amy standalone adventure. There’s so much cheese in the third act that I had to question how my theater was in an uproar of laughter. But hey — this film knows how to pander to its audience, I guess.
The technicalities in this film made me question whose idea it was to try to get cute in a series that could care less about angles and cinematography. Cinematographer Julio Macat‘s resume lately is full of generic C- and D-grade films, so it’s no surprise that these shots are incredibly uninspiring.
The one benefit of this film is its short run time, which is the shortest in the trilogy. Maybe the studio knew something we didn’t and had an idea that this one would be bad. Then again, I’m most likely wrong and it’ll probably make back its budget when fans flock to the theater for Christmas. That’s it — the lone positive was that this ride ended quickly.
Things like “What’s up, Pitches,” “a ca-mazing” and “a ca-scuse me” are heard once again, and I couldn’t stop checking my watch. The film shoehorns most of its progression, wrapping up the series in what was just a forgettable moment of emotion. I understand this film isn’t for me and that I might not be the best judge for this sort-of film, but I know a bad film when I see one. This is a bad film. Maybe this brought tears to the eyes of fans, but it brought me closer to the theater’s exit sign.
I was treated to an advanced screening of this film thanks to Universal Pictures and Sly Fox. ❤
Pitch Perfect 3 is rated PG-13, runs 1 hour and 33 minutes and releases in theaters on Dec. 22, 2017.