Pitch Perfect 3 Review

Pitch Perfect 3 Review

The Plot

Acapella singing superstars the Barden Bellas have grown up and grown apart, but a chance to reunite for one last chance to compete for musical glory on a European Tour might just put each of their individual lives back on track.

The Good

Pitch Perfect 3 will be a welcome return for those who have previously much enjoyed the Bellas’ endearingly daft musical shenanigans. Though the plot of this final chapter may feel like an obviously contrived excuse for a series of jaunty musical numbers, those acapella karaoke mashups are nonetheless still infectiously fun to watch.

Likewise the franchise’s astonishingly well assembled cast continues to pour a surprising amount of charm into otherwise one note characters. Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Hailee Steinfeld, Anna Camp and Rebel Wilson are among the returning stars that shine yet again. Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins also return to provide their usual scene stealing tongue in cheek commentary throughout proceedings.

Perhaps the biggest compliment that can be paid to Pitch Perfect 3 is that it seems entirely self-aware of the fact that it’s a final celebratory farewell tour nothing more. The plot of the film oddly mirrors real life, with plenty of in jokes about the need to move on and the inherent comedy of performers so unashamedly desperate for that final piece of the spotlight.

Luckily the film manages to resist the temptation to pull a Fast and The Furious style genre switch, utterly reimagining the characters or throwing them into too many implausibly new situations. This is perhaps the worst and most common crime of ill-advised sequels but thankfully Pitch Perfect 3 doesn’t quite fall into this trap, even if it does knowingly flirt with the idea during its opening scenes and later stages.

Overall a talented cast and the winning formula of slapstick humour, one liners and musical set pieces blends to form a pleasing harmony easily capable of raising a smile for 90 minutes.

The Bad

The original Pitch Perfect was a fun novelty act but didn’t obviously lend itself to sequels thanks to a largely self-contained plot that had been neatly brought to a close. Instead box office success and apparent audience enthusiasm swiftly prompted a follow up that made the most of a talented cast to squeeze even more musical comedy from the niche world of competitive acapella singing. Unfortunately for some audiences stretching the franchise now into a full blown trilogy may feel a little unnecessary and greedy.

For anyone who felt their enthusiasm damper by the end of the last sequel, this time may feel even more like a lazy repeat combined with at least one embarrassingly farfetched subplot. In particular the film comes dangerously close to ‘jumping the shark’ during its desperate efforts to inject action into its final act. Hollywood so often mistakes bigger for better and adding martial arts and explosions to acapella singing is never really a sensible idea.

Even if the final Bellas adventure does its very best to milk more laughs out of the increasingly familiar characters, it’s hard to entirely avoid feeling like you’re watching performers taking a superfluous curtain call after the applause has already started to fade out.

The Ugly Truth

Pitch Perfect 3 ends the unlikely trilogy of musical comedy on a mostly satisfying note giving fans of the series a final farewell performance. Stars like Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson have just enough musical and comedic appeal to make it feel like easy watching fun.

Review by Russell Nelson

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