The Ninjabot


Posted on October 6, 2012 at 11:10 am by Darth Shiva

On random movie nights, I’ll get a text from a friend that says “Let’s go see a movie” and it’s usually followed by a choice between 2 movies that I would generally not see in theaters.

This time I chose to see Pitch Perfect, which is a musical comedy about a girl named Beca, who is forced to join an on-campus group to appease her father.  She ends up in the all girls a cappella group, the Barden Bellas as they attempt to take on their biggest rivals, the all male singing group from campus.  Directed by Jason Moore, and including Elizabeth Banks as one of the producers (who also appears in the film), this movie is based on the non-fiction novel by the same name written by Mickey Rapkin.  Along with Anna Kendrick, the film also stars Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Rebel Wilson, Skylar Astin, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, with Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins as competition commentators.

In order to follow her dreams of going to LA to become a DJ, Beca (Kendrick) makes a deal with her father to join an on-campus group for a year.  This is made more difficult by the fact that she is forced to join a singing group (something she doesn’t like to do since she’d rather be producing music than creating her own) by Chloe (Snow), a pushy fellow student who hears her singing in the shower and refuses to leave her alone until she agrees to audition.

Once she joins the Bellas, Beca must contend with Aubrey (Camp), the control freak senior and leader of the Bellas who is desperate to make up for her fiasco performance at the finals the year before and refuses to deviate from her outdated performance routines, Kimmy Jin (Jinhee Joung), her angry and unfriendly roommate, the rag tag group of girls that make up the rest of the Bellas, and Jesse (Astin), a fellow freshman who pursues her romantically and is part of the Bella’s rival group, the Treble Makers.

I saw this as a fun cross between Bridesmaids and Bring It On, with a girl who can’t afford to lose using a social loner with a lot of talent to win, and a cast of crazy personalities to show the main character what friendship really is.  It was well cast, with Beca being played by Anna Kendrick, who I recognized from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but is probably better known for her role in the Twilight saga.

All of the characters did a great job, from Anna Camp playing Aubrey, the neurotic Bellas leader with an obsession to win and redeem herself after a humiliating debacle the year before at the final competition and Brittany Snow who plays Chloe, the sidekick and co-leader of the Bellas, recruiting Beca and pushing her to become more active in the group after it’s discovered that she has nodes, but the real steal of the movie was Rebel Wilson playing Fat Amy (“so twig bitches like you don’t do it behind my back”), an Australian actress who’s first role in American cinema was, coincidentally, Bridesmaids!  She is great, and adds an enormous element of humor into a group that otherwise takes itself far too seriously.  She’s pushy and confident in herself to the point of overpowering, but absolutely lovable and fun.

Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins are Gail and John, the snarky commentators of each competition and previous a cappella singers themselves.  The banter between them was funny, always sounding like professional commentators while verbally assaulting the contestants.  To me it was reminiscent of Weekend Update from SNL and I thoroughly enjoyed the back and forth between them.

Skylar Astin plays Jesse, the all around good sweet guy who’s interested in and pursues Beca though she wants nothing to do with him for a long while and who joins the Treble Makers, long time champions and rivals of the Bellas, which is led by Adam DeVine as Bumper, perhaps the world’s largest d-bag.  He was my least favorite character, but hey, I’m generally not a fan of irredeemable jackasses, so there you go.

The soundtrack is great, and one of my favorite moments of the movie is the riff off, where the 4 on campus a cappella groups gather to compete in a “friendly” sing off competition.  The emcee of the event is played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse (who I loved in Role Models) and gives the groups a category.  One person starts it off and at some point one of the other groups must cut them off using a word from the previous song to start off the next batch.  It was a great mash-up of songs and fun to listen to.  The music for the movie was composed by Mark Kilian and Christophe Beck (who will forever remain in my heart as the composer of the “Hush” episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer).  I enjoyed the movie and am glad I went to go see it.  If you harbor a secret love of a cappella and pop music, and I know you do, you should check this out! You can add it to your guilty pleasure movies! 🙂

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