Pitch Perfect 3
Pitch Perfect 2 was considered somewhat of a disappointment but it went on to become the highest-grossing musical comedy film of all time, so a threequel was inevitable. It’s supposedly the final instalment – too bad it’s such a limp encore.
This third movie puts a pause on its flanderized cast of characters’ lives, taking them away from their prosaic jobs – or in Beca’s (Anna Kendrick) case, quitting them – to reunite them as the Bellas for one last singing competition taking place in Europe for the troops. The contest is hosted by hip-hop producer/Snapchat star DJ Khaled, who strangely has a lot of agency over thrusting the narrative forward.
Pitch Perfect has always been a series for the moment, with references to whatever’s current in the pop culture zeitgeist so Khaled’s guest role isn’t offbeat. In fact, his bombastic living-meme persona fits right in with the silliness. Pitch Perfect 3 is best when it’s self-consciously silly. Sometimes the jokes are prolonged to the point of awkwardness, but generally it’s funny to hear the characters acknowledge formulaic storytelling beats on a meta level. They have so many quips, we half expect one of them to be about how the whole thing is a blatant, pointless cash grab.
The one part of the movie that promises to be fresh is when Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) discovers that her father has come to town to reunite with her. John Lithgow portrays him, sporting an Australian accent that’s as outrageous as his English one in Cliffhanger. What looks to be a subplot offering an interesting dimension of character development for the series’ breakout star instead transforms to a Bond-esque scenario on a boat that’s the worst thing to happen to Pitch Perfect since the cups song inspired an ill-advised Heinz advert. The filmmakers can be forgiven for thinking “What this franchise needs is DJ Khaled”, but there’s no pardoning an incongruous segue into action.
Pitch Perfect 3 may simply exist for the pleasure of its ensemble cast, who likely became great friends through the years. That’s evident in the credits, which feature a faux-documentary depicting the behind-the-scenes of the Bellas preparing for the competition, as shot by Gail (Elizabeth Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins), the duo who have been consistently funny across the trilogy. Some of the footage is bloopers, some is scenes from the predecessors, all of it reminds us of when Pitch Perfect was actually pretty good.
Pitch Perfect is released nationwide on 20th December 2017.
Watch the trailer for Pitch Perfect 3 here: