Thursday, December 21, 2017

Still Pitchy, and Far From Perfect

Screenwriters Kay Cannon and Mike White bend over backwards the third time around to find a plausible reason to reunite the Barden Bellas for a final chance to sing and compete for glory. Given the glut of game shows which are music-based it would seem pretty easy to do. However, Pitch Perfect 3 goes old school and instead sends our ladies overseas to perform on a USO tour for American servicemen abroad. And, because everything in this series has to be about competition, the Bellas are pitted against the other bands competing for an opening act spot for prestigious musician DJ Khaled (playing himself).

Most of the cast return including the talented Becca Anna Kendrick, the awkward and all-the-sudden less-sexually-confused Chloe (Brittany Snow), the competitive Aubrey (Anna Camp), the younger Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), the odd Lilly (Hana Mae Lee), and the annoying Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) who gets her own bizarre subplot involving a long-lost father (John Lithgow) and gangsters... for the micro-audience of those waiting to see Rebel Wilson as a ninja? Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins also reprise their roles as commentators, this time tracking the group overseas for a documentary which would seem to have a very narrow target audience as well.

I've had no trouble stating that I've always thought this series is lazy, unimaginative, and wasteful of the talent it brings to the screen. The third entry is no exception. Anna Kendrick gets to once again stand-out as the most talented Bella. Brittany Snow continues to act awkward, albeit without the bisexual overtones. Rebel Wilson is loud and annoying. And the rest of the cast... is there. Yes, the music performances are good, but every time the music stops and the plot is forced to kick-in the film struggles. Pitch Perfect 3 touches on the ladies struggling after college and jonesing for the good old days, but later events undercut those scenes making you wonder what was the point? That's how I feel about the entire franchise. Yes Becca gets her moment and the movie/franchise ends on a nice bit of fanservice for both cast and fans, but did it really need to take three movies to get us here?

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