Quality: ★★½ (out of four) Director: Jason Moore
Stars: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Adam Devine
Rating: PG-13 for sexual material, language, drug references
Running time: 1 hour, 52 minutes
Theater: Oak View
“Pitch Perfect” graduates the “Glee” world of competitive singing from high school hallways to a college campus. That's about as innovative as this movie gets.
If you're a “Glee” fan, or you loved “Bring It On,” you'll probably get a kick out of this snarky comedy full of pop tunes that has a relentlessly dirty mind. Otherwise, there's not a lot to recommend here.
Well, maybe a little.
Gifted actress-singer Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air”) is Becca, a freshman at Barden University who has an attitude problem and retreats into her headphones.
But Aubrey (Anna Camp) hears Becca singing in the shower and twists her arm to join the Barden Bellas, an a cappella all-female glee club she heads. Their arch rivals are the party-hardy all-male Treblemakers. (Omahan Adam DeVine is fun as the leader of the Treblemakers, playing the same character he does on “Workaholics.”)
Right away Becca diagnoses the problem: Aubrey's old-fashioned song choices will never fly. Becca pushes innovation — Bruno Mars instead of Ace of Base — but Aubrey is a control freak who won't listen.
The Bellas had a disastrous regional competition last year involving projectile vomiting, so — luckily for us — they're having trouble recruiting gorgeous cheerleader types.
Rebel Wilson (“Bridesmaids”) is the best thing in this movie, playing a bizarre Aussie who calls herself Fat Amy and who is never far from a funny quip or unusual move.
Hana Mae Lee (also “Workaholics”) is also a hoot as super-shy Lilly, who barely moves her lips when singing but can be counted on to suddenly share inappropriate facts about herself (“I set fires to feel joy.”).
They're funny, and so are Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins as a couple of outrageous color commentators at the singing competitions (copying “Best in Show”).
Handsome Skylar Astin does a nice job as a Treblemaker who falls for Becca but has to compete with a campus radio deejay with six-pack abs.
The dancing is fun to watch, too.
But the movie is never believable, starting with a cast too old to pass as college kids. And when the singers have a spontaneous “riff-off” in an empty swimming pool, entire vocal arrangements with lush harmonies are invented on the spot without rehearsal. (Kendrick is killer singing “No Diggity,” nonetheless.)
Director Jason Moore, who has a long list of TV credits, helms a strictly by-the-numbers movie that is entertaining on one level, eye-rolling on another. It feels like a season of “Glee” compressed into one long episode, complete with a slushy-like scene. And it pushes the PG-13 envelope at every turn.
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