BOY CULTURE REVIEW: **1/2 OUT OF ****
I saw a preview of the wildly unoriginal (it's like Glee crossed with Glee!) Pitch Perfect, and while it definitely isn't, it hits most of the notes it doesn't have to strain for and makes for a fun diversion if you're not looking for operatic supremacy.
Unable to make Bachelorette bearable, Rebel Wilson handily makes Pitch Perfect sporadically hilarious as "Fat Amy," a chunky chick with pipes who, along with a large group of misfits, joins a collegiate all-girl a cappella group in hopes of winning a national title.
The film's star, Anna Kendrick of Twilight fame (and an Oscar-nominated for her supporting role in Up in the Air), doesn't fare so well, bringing things down every chance she gets courtesy of a spot-on, sullen Kristen Stewart impersonation. She's supposed to be an edgy alternachick, yet "her music" is really just the sort of club stuff you'd hear at a circuit party or cheesy, simplistic mash-ups of Top 40 hits. Because she's got standards, it takes a minute for the other girls to convince her to join the group. Because she's blind as a bat, it takes most of the movie for her adorable co-star Skylar Astin's more upbeat character to persuade her to fall for him.
As the core of the a cappella group, Brittany Snow and Anna Camp are—like other aspects of Pitch Perfect—strictly stock. Other members are equally two-dimensional, including a butch lesbian (Ester Dean) whose blatantly obvious sexuality is played for laughs, the last laugh being that she was never in the closet to begin with. Only a comically soft-spoken Asian eccentric (Hana Mae Lee) feels like a fresh type. The familiar characters are somewhat excused when the film reveals its affinity for The Breakfast Club, but to more cynical viewers, this association will feel like a crutch more than a mission statement.
But in spite of the script's lack of originality, Pitch Perfect becomes noteworthy thanks to snappy direction by Jason Moore, the charm of actors like Astin, Ben Platt as his goofy sidekick, Adam DeVine as a douchetastic rival and Wilson—who earns MVP status for simply doing her shtick—and a dozen or more laugh-out-loud moments that rise well above the mediocrity.
Pitch Perfect opens today.