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Film Review—‘Pitch Perfect 3′ Doesn’t Do Much With A Promising Premise

Posted: Friday, December 29, 2017 – 12:02 PM

By Adam Sherman

Not much was expected of the original Pitch Perfect. It featured no major leads in its cast, it had been four years since the last chick-flick-musical (Mamma Mia), and opened in late September against Taken 2, as well as the preceding week’s critically-acclaimed Looper (which was directed by Rian Johnson, who just released The Last Jedi last week—how’s that for a coincidence). And yet, Pitch Perfect would go on to become one of 2012’s sleeper hits. Pitch Perfect 2 followed three years later, went head-to-head with Mad Max: Fury Road on the weekend of May 15, 2015, and thus the Bellas halted the Road Warrior. And now, five years after that shock, can these girls make lightning strike thrice in the shadow of Episode VIII?

Probably not, but there’s still some fun to be had.

Pitch Perfect 3 starts with most of the Bellas scattered to the winds after winning the World Championships in the last movie, dealing with post-fame blues and underwhelming job prospects. However, when an opportunity to perform for a USO tour shows up, the Bellas reunite to make some music, all the while wondering what their futures may hold.

Sounds like a great movie, right? Shame the movie doesn’t do much with it.

The majority of the film is focused on the musical number, which is par for the course with the genre. However, most of them, save mainly the first and last, do little to serve the plot or characterization, and act more to pad out the film (which comes off as odd since this installment clocks in at only a little over an hour-and-a-half compared to the two hours for the previous films).

In fact, most of the film’s characters have barely anything resembling memorable characterization or an arc. The only ones with anything resembling such are Becca (Anna Kendrick) and Patricia, aka Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson). In today’s economy, it becomes somewhat difficult to empathize with Becca choosing to quit her job as a music producer just because her vision clashes with that of the singer’s. Patricia’s arc of reconciling with her criminal of a father and all that entails could’ve made for a strong film all on its own, but instead, it’s portrayed as a B-plot to what comes off as a rather lacking A-plot.

That’s not to say the film is all downs, though. There are still laughs to be had, the music’s good, the performances are alright, and while some could call it shark-jumping, Fat Amy’s sequence in the third act is pretty cool, and leaves one with the impression that Rebel Wilson could portray an action hero.

Go see this movie… as an aca-depressant after Justice League or Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

5 aca 10.

Pitch Perfect 3 is distributed by Universal Pictures.

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