Pitch Perfect 3
Director: Trish Sie
Screenwriter: Kay Cannon
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Anna Camp, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Hailee Steinfeld, Hana Mae Lee, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Chrissie Fit, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins
Distributor: Universal Studios
Rated PG-13| 93 Minutes
Release Date: December 22, 2017
Although the Pitch Perfect films have never been strong on narratives or plots, their strength lies in the rapturous a cappella beats of top 40 cover songs and themes of friendship. That has been their constant, and it remains true in Pitch Perfect 3, where there is a razor-thin plot and a list of nonsensical things that don’t even belong in the film in the first place.
However, in its meta sense of humor and cheesiness, along with some rather fun a cappella music and those themes of friendship, Pitch Perfect 3 isn’t a forgettable jazzy blur but semi-entertaining sing-a-long that doesn’t quite remember where it came from. My full review below.
Pitch Perfect 3 quite literally doesn’t know where it is going, from its very strange opening, which takes place three weeks after the film actually begins, to its build up. There we see that the Bellas are, once again, not living up to their full potential. Their careers don’t quite match up to the glorious heydays of being a Bella. Becca (Anna Kendrick) is a music producer, whose creative decisions are undermined by a talentless musician and an enabling manager; Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) has taken her Fat Amy Winehouse act to the streets of New York, where she is constantly uprooted by another street performer; and other Bellas are treated the same way where they long for the days of singing as a group.
So they go on a USO tour, in the hopes that they can be an opening act for DJ Khaled. However, they are up against three other acts that use musical instruments and mercilessly mock their a cappella competition. And there is a lot that does not make sense. Shoehorned subplots are inserted just to advance the plot. And even if it did begin to make a beat of sense, it still does not add up. All of it leading up to the fact that Becca can get an actual job, but in order to get it, she would have to leave her Barden Bella families behind.
Pitch Perfect 3 is so mixed up, I’m not sure where it is going at first. Even when it finds its footing, it takes a while for the film to discover where it wants to go. It isn’t as focused as the first, but somehow, it is better than the second, but it is a razor-thin margin. With so many subplots, it’s hard to know if this film is coming or going. For one thing, Fat Amy’s father (John Lithgow) is the head of a criminal empire who is looking to use Fat Amy in order to get her inheritance. Another subplot that doesn’t quite factor into the film is the romance between Chloe (Brittany Snow) and Chicago (Matt Lanter). Finally, the singing competition barely registers as an important device.
But there are some moments in the film that do register a few unearned laughs. And all of it comes at the price of disrespecting the female characters. Many of whom fall victim to familiar antiquated tropes. Rather than lift up its female characters, the film decides to deride their career choices. Mocking them every chance it can get. Even when they make it to the tour, their competition scoffs at the fact that the Bellas could not make it to the competition on their own merit.
A lot of what’s going on in the film feels lazy, no one really earns their moments. It feels hastily put together with no consideration for any of its characters or what is going on in real time. Instead, we are treated to forced comedic gestures and a film that does anything to express its hate towards its female characters. Even things that were once jokes in the first two films now just come off as mean.
Unfortunately, the third and final installment of the Pitch Perfect series never really captures the magic of the first. Where there was once charm and pure fun, came sequels that forgot about their roots. Yes, there is music, and there are those themes of friendship that continue to resonate throughout the trilogy — the latter of which is done rather poorly. But with all the nonsensical things that are going on in the film, Pitch Perfect 3 is a rather sad swan song for the trilogy.