Film Reviews

Pitch Perfect: Clever Winks at the Usual Tropes

As Pitch Perfect opens, its lead group of lady nerds, the Bellas, botch their lackluster performance at an a capella championship with neurotic perfectionist Aubrey's (the always on-point Anna Camp) projectile vomiting. Literally. Like, all over the audience. Flash forward several months to a new school year, when most of the Bellas have either graduated or quit the group in vomit-induced shame, and Aubrey and the only other remaining Bella, Chloe (an adorable Brittany Snow), are tasked with building a new team from scratch. Enter the weirdos, led by a hilarious Rebel Wilson (self-named Fat Amy) and a brooding Anna Kendrick as Beca, a sarcastic spitfire who just wants to apply more eyeliner and hop a bus to L.A. to become a DJ. A host of interesting characters round out the group, some more fully realized than others — you've got a black lesbian (that's it; that's her personality), a quiet Asian girl (who, granted, might be a serial killer), a slutty slut, and some girls who you literally forget are there (until the movie points out that you literally forgot they were there). It's these clever winks at the usual tropes that Pitch Perfect does best, acknowledging its genre — Revenge of Nerds the Musical Starring Ladies — and then often blasting away expectations, usually in the form of a ridiculously fun mash-up. The movie works because even though there's an awkward and unnecessary romantic subplot, some lazy stereotypes (she's a black lesbian! We get it, we get it), and not enough singing (never enough singing!), the girls, for the most part, are genuinely funny, weird, real, and, most excitingly, confident. NERDS! NERDS! NERDS!

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Laura Beck
Contact: Laura Beck