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Pitch Perfect 3 (A Movie Review)

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Pitch Perfect 3


Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Hana Mae Lee, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Chrissie Fit, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, John Lithgow, DJ Khaled, Ruby Rose, Matt Lanter, Guy Burnet, Andy Allo, Venzella Joy and Hannah Fairlight.

Screenplay by Kay Cannon.

Directed by Trish Sie.

Distributed by Universal Pictures. 93 minutes. Rated PG-13.

My daughter begged me not to write a positive review here. “Just because you love the franchise doesn’t make the movie good.” 15-year olds can be harsh.

Clearly, she was not a fan of Pitch Perfect 3. We both loved the original and have watched it repeatedly since its release to DVD. We love its humor, characters, and vocal mash-ups. Most of all, we love its simple, silly, but believable storyline.

Pitch Perfect 3 is less of a continuation of the Bellas story and more of a swan song for the characters that we grew to love in the original.

The Original Barton Bellas have returned – Beca (Anna Kendrick), Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), Chloe (Brittany Snow), Aubrey (Anna Camp), Cynthia Rose (Ester Dean), Lilly (Hana Mae Lee); even Stacie (Alexis Knapp) makes a couple of brief appearances. The lesser seen Bellas are there too, including Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), the newbie from Pitch Perfect 2.

Absent are our male love interests from the previous two movies. Jesse (Skylar Astin) explained away by the woes of a long-distance relationship, now happily living with his new girlfriend 3000 miles away. Bumper (Adam Devine) is having a painful time getting over his break up with Fat Amy.

Screenwriters absolutely missed a fan girl opportunity by not mentioning Benji’s (Benjamin Platt’s) absence. For sure they could have thrown in a “Benji went off to Broadway” for our Dear Evan Hansen star – even an off-off-Broadway one-man magic show would have been a nice nod for his fan base.

This time, the Bellas have passed the honeymoon period of their successful college experiences and are caught in their unsuccessful present – first job doldrums. None of them seem happy with their lives post college and they are eager to recapture the energy of their youth.

Aubrey offers them the opportunity to regroup and join a USO tour… and the plot dwindles into the Bellas need to prove themselves to a catty, competitive girl band. (Snooze…. Aren’t we all tired of movies where women are pitted against one another?? Would it be so hard to make a movie where women built one another up for their talents??)

This is combined with a subplot about daddy issues. (Again, why go back to the same tired plot line? It’s 2017.) Without going into spoilers, one story line was so over the top that I can only assume that it was the franchise just making fun of itself. That’s my hope anyway.

Lucky for the franchise, we don’t go to a Pitch Perfect movie for its plot. There were a few jokes that caused me to laugh embarrassingly loud (for my daughter) and the Bellas have not lost any of their talent in spite of their now dissatisfying lives. There were enough vocal opportunities between the riff off and performances to keep a smile on my face, particularly in the last 15 minutes, so hang in there.

Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins return as a capella commentators Gail and John Smith, this time deep into the production of their documentary about the Bellas. They do not disappoint and continue to go for the cheap shots of humor that have been hallmark to the Pitch Perfect franchise.

In summary, like my daughter, I agree that the original Pitch Perfect is still the best of the three, but unlike my daughter, I feel that Pitch Perfect 3 achieves what it sets out to do – cap off the trilogy with a happily ever after.

Bonnie Paul

Copyright ©2017 All rights reserved. Posted: December 22, 2017.


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