Pitch Perfect – And now for something completely different! – Directed by Jason Moore

Alright, I’ll start with saying that I don’t really know why I wanted to go see this movie, I just did. I think that Anna Kendrick being in it (who I love) had a lot to do with it, and to any male with a pulse, that part would probably be obvious. She’s gorgeous, and shes pretty damn talented too – my references for saying that would be Up in The Air, End of Watch (not linking it, just read my review of it, and love it), 50/50…etc. Her portrayal of a mousey (mousey girls are my favorite) little upstart that is essentially taking over the Cloon-dog’s job in Up in the Air is…oh I’m just gonna go ahead and say it now, Pitch Perfect. Ohhh! He said it! And by the way, if you haven’t seen Up in the Air yet…shame on you. Turn off my silly little review of a silly little movie like this one, and go watch that one, which could very well give you a new perspective on life. No, I’m not kidding, and yes, that movie is fantastic. You usually can’t wrong with the Cloon-dog in anything, hell he was even good in ER. Anyone remember that show? Also, Cloon-dog is my name, I’m pretty sure one that I just cooked up in my insane little head, one day, and that’s what I call him. I’d even call him that to his face if I ever met him (after I shook his hand for dating Stacy Keibler, nice pull there, buddy). But I just SERIOUSLY digressed, we have a movie to talk about here.

And what a fine little surprise of a movie it was. This movie reminded me MUCH of the first season of Glee, which, and I will argue this with anyone who hates the show now (and don’t worry, I do too), the first season of Glee was one of the best things ever produced and put on television EVER. In the history of TV, like, since JFK was shot on national television. The first season of that show blew me away, something that had never been done before, and a brilliant mesh of drama, a cliched high school show we had seen a million times before and (by far most importantly), music. It blew the doors off of having shows/movies based around music (see: Nashville, Wedding Band, Memphis Beat, Treme, etc.), and that was a very, very good thing. Music and movies have always went hand-in-hand, Glee took the next logical step that frankly I’m surprised no show had tried before. It has most assuredly jumped the shark, it did soon after season 1 was over, and it’s complete garbage now, but damn if it wasn’t wonderful at first. And Pitch Perfect has the same feeling, the same freshman innocence, the feeling that something new can truly impress you and make you have a damn good laugh at the same time. This was a fantastic movie, and deserves all of the critical acclaim that it’s getting.

And an awfully big part of the laughs in this movie, and why it works so well, come from this lady right here, played by the mostly played-in-only-weirdly-named-tv-shows Rebel Wilson. You also might remember her as “girl in alley” in that epic masterpiece known as Ghost Rider. Of course you don’t. No one remembers that movie, or Nicolas Cage after Con Air (oh man remember that movie? He fought so many dudes, and his hair was SO, SO bad). But you will remember her, and you will remember her characters name even if you don’t remember anyone else’s name, because she is Fat Amy. And she lives up to the name 100%. She hates cardio, invents horizontal running (that means laying down), and basically does all of the stereotypical things you would expect from a fat actress/comedian. But man, does she ever nail it. She also plays this role with a certain sweetness as well, never once does she want us to feel sorry for her, and hell, we shouldn’t, she gets more action that most any of the other skinny, “beautiful” girls in the movie do (well, except for that one slutty one…but hey, I forgot her name). She is great, hilarious, and steals nearly every scene she is in, her only other equal is Anna Kendrick, which should be obvious since Kendrick already held her own with the Cloon-dog and my boy Joseph Gordon-Levitt in previous movies (you SHOULD know who he is, but if not, go read my long-winded review of Looper), and she nearly makes the movie.

But we can’t rule out Kendrick here either. Kendrick could have easily mailed in this performance. She is the stereotypical “rebel” girl who wants to make her own music, doesn’t have a lot of friends, is essentially an outcast. Of course she is going to fit in with this acapella group that needs new blood because they are already full of outcasts who haven’t quite realized that thats what they are (played with an almost scary amount of enthusiasm by two other “twig bitches”, Anna Camp and Brittany Snow – arguably her best role to date because she usually just…uh…just isn’t very good – she WAS in John Tucker Must Die, after all, BLECH, YUCK!) But she has all the pitfalls of a cliched character – no mother figure (is it sad that I giggle a little bit every time I type that cuz its so close to a swear? Yeah…yeah it is, moving on), a Dad who wasn’t really there and that she has issues with, who promises her (strangely) that if she actually makes an attempt at college for a year and makes herself some friends, well then she’ll pay for her to move out to LA to fulfill her dreams. Yes, thats a maguffin. No, I didn’t really care. Because while the beginning story isn’t going to win any awards for originality, it doesn’t matter, because you will have a blast watching what happens to her.

Of course I have to mention the singing performances, because, like Glee, they are some of the main focuses of the movie. Well, every one of them is brilliant. Yes, they are probably a little bit over-produced, no acapella group is going to blow your freakin’ mind like some of their competition does in the movie, and there really is something as awesome as the little sing-off that all the groups at this fictional (also a maguffin) college has, well then sign me up for an acapella group right away, I can’t even sing (but damn if I can’t rap, just like Anna can in this movie – gosh, she sure is swell) but who cares that scene was incredible. But again, you won’t care. It’s just a great ride all the way through, and I hate to compare this to a movie like Bring It On, but, it kinda…kinda IS like that. This movie could do for acapella groups what Glee and that…movie *shudder* did for Glee and cheerleading groups. It’s just great, fun stuff. It also has another similarity with that movie in that Anna Camp’s character often throws the words -aca into a sentence, like “aca-WHAT?!” similar to Jamie Pressly’s character in Bring It On yelling “this is NOT a cheertatorship!” or whatever the hell she yelled. God, Jamie Pressly is just terrible. Remember her in My Name is Earl? God. How come no one ever clotheslined her on that show? She was just god awful. But! Back to this great movie!

Ok, I think that I’ve established that, this movie isn’t going to change your life. It isn’t going to be up for any Oscars. But it does another great thing with music that we honestly just haven’t seen since the first season of Glee (well…maybe Treme does it too, but not enough people watch that show, and they SHOULD, but hey, HBO is expensive), and movies need music, it’s just essential to any movie being epic. What the hell would Star Wars be without its epic beginning jams? Could you imagine Indiana Jones being silent during its awesome action scenes? What’s a bond movie without a great opening song (well, besides ones from Tina Turner or something…Yikes….)? Yeah, that’s sort of a different argument, but not really when we boil it down, music is essential to a great movie. And this movie has it in spades, and some great performances too. It, much like Taken 2, isn’t something you necessarily HAVE to see. But it is a damn fun ride, you will laugh your ass off at Fat Amy (who I really wish was my friend), you will be impressed by some of the talented people that do their own singing (mostly Anna), and you will be surprised at some of the great cameos and commentary from Elizabeth Banks (who was a producer, neat) and John Michael Higgins during the acapella performances. Go check it out for something different and bring some friends, particularly if you love music and it affects your life as much as it does mine, and bring the popcorn, because this is a popcorn flick at its very finest. And for gods sake, if you haven’t already, go watch Up in the Air.

The Verdict –

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