The third in the “acapella” series seems like a fitting conclusion, but too often seems a little off-key
When Pitch Perfect came out in 2012 it was a remarkable hit, and rightfully so. Bouncing off the back of the success of all-female led comedies like Bridesmaids, and TV’s shows like Glee which made acapella singing known and popular to wider audiences, it packed a perfect punch. Sure enough this success amounted to a second film, but this third installment, although apparently a necessary finale, doesn’t seem to be quite of the same vein.
For some reason, a third “high-school” comedy film about an all girl group of acapella singing misfits seemed, to the film’s director Trish Sie and writers, Kay Cannon and Mike White, necessary, as well as apparently not quite a theme enough. Pitch Perfect 3 bizarrely attempts to blend the established “Pitch Perfect” format with a super-villain-spy-action plot twist, which doesn’t quite hit the mark.
This third installment follows on from the girls’ time at College — years on, the girls are dealing with post-College life realities of dealing with unsatisfying jobs, relationships, and Amy Winehouse tribute acts. Yet, the Bella’s cannot seem to let go of their acapella past, turning up to a “Bella’s Reunion” expecting to perform, only to be let down. In nostalgia, desperation, and frustration they seek out an alternative way to get back behind the mic, and leap at the chance to perform on a tour of European US Military Bases, competing with other acts to be signed by the Hip-Hop mogul DJ Khaled.
At first it seems like the Bella’s are to face a new enemy; real bands who actually play instruments, such as a brilliantly named all-girl indie group “Evermoist”. But this is not the case…The story (and genre) takes an odd twist, involving Fat Amy’s long lost father, played by John Lithgow, who turns up with a questionable Australian accent, and turns out to be a notoriously “dodgy” gangsta, as well as a pretty poor father intent on stealing his daughters’ savings.
As if anticipating that the same formula isn’t quite perfect enough, this sequel tries to compensate by over-sensationalizing and dramatizing it’s plot, whilst also simultaneously attempting to hit home the sentimentality of the Bella’s final outing.
As a finale to the popular film series though, it seems to be a fitting conclusion, with many humorous moments, and genuine laughs throughout, providing a satisfying ending for everyone’s favourite acapella singers, and a fulfilling moment which finally puts the wry deadpan Anna Kendrick centre stage, who is as sparky as ever in this sequel.
Despite an unanticipated move on action comedy, you essentially know what to expect with Pitch Perfect 3. This is not necessarily a bad thing — as unoriginal as this third film might be, it isn’t a terrible cover version.
All in all a lighthearted, well-meaning finale to the Pitch Perfect series of films which sees the Bella’s start their new lives looking forward to the future, finally leaving their acapella days behind them. Sometimes, thankfully, it is best to let some things go.