Saturday, 12 January 2013

Pitch Perfect 2012

I know this is the 21st century. I know this because there was a big Y2K scare 13 years ago and just a couple of weeks back I celebrated the start of 2013. So, why are the writers of this latest Hollywood high school musical pretending that it's still the 1970s, when creating comedy with racial and sexual stereotypes was still considered funny?

Beca (Anna Kendrick), an angst-ridden teenager with lots of dark make-up to prove the point, wants to be a music producer in LA; but her professor dad persuades her to attend Barden University for at least a year, with the promise that if she hates it, he will help set up her music career. The condition he lays down is that she has to give university life, including clubs and societies, a real shot. In the meantime, the 'Bellas', an A Cappella club, are desperately looking for new members, after a humiliating loss at the previous inter-collegiate competition (projectile vomiting was involved).

Despite her reservations, Beca is enlisted, along with a bunch of other girls who are presented as clear misfits. There's Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), black AND closet-lesbian Cynthia-Rose (Ester Dean), nymphomaniac Stacie (Alexis Knapp), and silent but deadly Asian Lilly (Hana Mae Lee). Heading the Bellas is control-freak, blond perfectionist, Aubrey (Anna Camp) and of course, she has a trusted side-kick, Chloe (Brittany Snow). All these characters speak and act in extreme stereotypes (Fat Amy does not exercise and cracks food-related jokes; Cynthia-Rose tries to force CPR and grabs on to other girls' boobs every opportunity she gets; Stacie constantly thinks about and has sex; Lilly speaks so quietly that no one gets her, but she is dark and twisted inside; Aubrey is shrill and obsessive-compulsive about traditions; and Chloe lets Aubrey walk all over her). Of course Beca is the only slightly normal character, but she has oh such difficulty trusting anyone, because her dad left her mum. Her Asian roommate bizarrely detests her for no reason at all and treats her appallingly (which Beca never once reacts to) and she has almost no backbone with anyone except the one person who is good to her - Jesse (Skylar Astin), a member of the rival, all-male A Cappella group, called Treblemakers.

I will not go any further into the story and I have only explained thus far to show how unbelievably stale the premise is - and how awfully repugnant the stereotypes are. The script is replete with nerd jokes (they are weird), racial jokes (Asians are weird), disability jokes (DJ = Deaf Jews...and they're weird), lesbian jokes (gay people are desperate...and weird)....and when all else fails, there are puke jokes. Seriously.

The script was probably written on toilet paper, by monkeys who had no imagination at all. No sorry - scratch that. It was written by Kay Cannon (of 30 Rock fame), based on a book by Mickey Rapkin. Yup, that must be one literary masterpiece. Character motivation is a mystery throughout the story - and the film is completely devoid of any chemistry, between anyone and anything. After this, director Jason Moore should definitely return to television, where he has obviously done well.

Most disheartening aspect of this film was watching Anna Kendrick, who is a good actress, playing a freshman at the ripe old age of 27. If it wasn't for the excellent - and I really mean that - singing voices that almost all the actors possess, this film was the absolute pits. It could not have been more wasteful of cinematic space.

I'm really sorry that my Film 2013 has started off with this trash.


  1. I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post."
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    1. Thanks for stopping by Saad - and for your comment.