So what constitutes a guilty pleasure? It’s a film that I like for personal reasons, and thus, probably have watched more than I should have.
Hmm… why are all my guilty pleasures starring female protagonists? Does this make me a feminist? Or a really creepy amateur movie critic?
But you know who really stole the show?
That moment when Benji, the socially awkward “singing live gives me such a rush” magician, gets to (finally) sing I’ve Got the Magic gave me chills. Which is impressive considering that the majority of the movie is actually pretty bad. I have no idea how this movie got an 81% on RottenTomatoes, unless every critic was once in a college a cappella group like I am and loves musicals as much as I do. I think Anna Kendrick did pretty poorly in the acting department playing the isolative college freshmen Beca who stubbornly tries to kick-start her music-making career in any way possible, taking an internship at the school’s radio station where Jesse, played by Skylar Astin, burdens the story with an uninteresting romance. Probably the worst offense of all, however, is the movie doesn’t seem to realize how cliched and generic the love story is, Beca herself saying she never makes it to the end of movies since they’re predictable, specifically mentioning that the guy usually gets the girl. To which I respond: WHY DIDN’T YOU TAKE BECA’S ADVICE?!?
Major story problems aside, I found myself enjoying Pitch Perfect until The Bellas, the a cappella group Beca joins, performs their mash-up at the finals. Even when contriving a reason involving nodes to add a real bass to the all-girls a cappella range, I was left more impressed by the Treblemakers, the all-boys a cappella group of Jesse and Benji.
So why is this a guilty pleasure? Well, I love how wrong Pitch Perfect is about a cappella groups. Riff-offs, on-the-spot arranging, a cappella workouts… wait, what? All college a cappella groups do this? Then what the heck have I been doing every Sunday and Wednesday this semester…
Although some of the song choices were just not up my alley, none of the songs became a chore to listen to. In fact, these musical numbers provide the best moments in the film, including the Titanium shower stall scene, Since You’ve Been Gone auditions, Becca’s cup song, the entire Riff-Off, the Just The Way You Are and Just a Dream mash-up, and the Treblemakers final performance.
The side-characters were all funny in their own unique way, starring the typical Barbie girl Stacie, a surprisingly powerful singer in its emo/lesbian Cynthia-Rose Adams, the ever-so-soft-turned-beatboxer Lilly Okanakamura, and of course, Fat Amy played by Rebel Wilson.
These characters define the movie with their quirkiness, as the movie itself is a strange concoction of raunchy humor, girl power, and Glee Club like performances. I can’t tell if the directors did this on purpose, but I thought it was a great idea to have Beca’s one true passion be mixing music because that is precisely what she does as director of this unlikely agglomeration of college misfits. Although each note that the movie tries to belt isn’t pitch perfect, the combination of it all somehow meshes into a harmonious, if audience-specific, chick-flick.