Pitch Perfect: as Close as it Gets: Movies for Mothers and Daughters:

pitch-perfect

The whole family watched Pitch Perfect last night. I had heard some pretty good buzz about this film (EW magazine and Pop Culture Happy Hour), but it wasn’t until my eldest daughter started telling me how much her friends really liked it that I decided to take the plunge. My reluctance was due in part by how awful and derivative most Hollywood romantic comedies are, and do not get me started on musicals.

Pitch Perfect introduces us to the cut-throat world of collegiate competitive a capella singing. It stars Anna Kendrick as Beca, a reluctant college freshman. She is a talented DJ and a rebel who would rather take her chances with the L.A. music scene. Because her dad is a professor at Barden University, he is insistent that she take advantage of collegiate life (at the low cost of FREE since he works there) at least for a year, before she gives up on higher education. I couldn’t help but chuckle when he tells her that being a DJ isn’t a career, it is a hobby. I wonder if DeadMau5 had that conversation with his folks? Beca reluctantly promises to give university a fair chance and finds herself interning at the campus radio station. It is here that she meets fellow intern Jesse (Skylar Astin) who clearly starts crushing on her. She and Jesse share a love for music and join competing a cappella singing clubs (Barden Bellas and the Treble Makers).

Ok, Ok, the rest of the plot is not ground breaking (Bring it On/Strictly Ballroom/etc). Both singing clubs vie for the championship prize (no spoilers here) as a backdrop for the unfolding romance of Beca and Jesse. Of course, there are impediments to the romantic relationship that need to be overcome. Surprisingly, said impediment was not as insulting to my intelligence as is often the case. How refreshing.  Yes, my younger daughter, at age 9, could see where things were heading. However, this movie had a lot of heart, a ton of  laughs and great musical performances (cleverly selected to appeal to a broad demographic). My daughter and I found ourselves swaying as we cuddled on the couch together. Pitch Perfect has stellar performances from the entire cast. Rebel Wilson stands out as Fat Amy; just check her out in the linked trailer. She is a scene stealer with some of the best lines. Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins are outrageously inappropriate as the color commentators during the lively competition scenes.

This movie tackles a number of themes that are springborads for discussion, such as the following: team work, college dorm life, following one’s dream, giving new things a fair chance, stepping outside one’s comfort zone, romance and how far one is willing to go in its pursuit. One of this film’s biggest flaws is the racial stereotyping. On the upside the choirs are populated by a mixed gang, reflecting true North American collegiate life. On the downside however, the non-white characters are one dimensional or worse, stereotype punch lines. This makes for some uncomfortable laughs (especially the outrageous but barely audible words that shy/quiet Asian Lilly blurts). Still, this affords further discussion, which is never a bad thing.

My husband and I were really surprised at how much we enjoyed this PG-13 rated film. My husband has an infectious gut busting laugh that is not unleased lightly and can be used as a comedy metric. It was set off repeatedly throughout the 112 minute runtime and added to our enjoyment. My youngest kept whispering how much she enjoyed the film, using the word “EPIC” repeatedly. It is now 2nd to Avatar as her favorite film. I would watch it again in a heartbeat. Then again, I see that Bring it On is airing this month. Maybe it is time to revisit that one, to see if  my daughters enjoy it as much as I did.

Mother and Daughter viewing recommendations are always welcome if you have any.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lesley
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 21:24:44

    I saw this recently on the treadmill – it is good running material but I thought it a bit formulaic. Can everybody sing but me? Nobody does any homework? I did like the music selections.
    I never heard the quiet voice of Lilly – it never made it over the sound of the treadmill – seems like maybe I missed something.

    Reply

    • dvdiva
      Apr 01, 2013 @ 15:49:27

      I completely agree with your formulaic comment. Very few romantic comedies escape this. So if the comedy is good, which I think it was in this case, the formulaic plot can be forgiven. I use Ann’s LOL vs predictability ratio 😉 I hope for a score well above 1. For those data driven readers out there, the calculation is as follows: how many times do I LOL divided by how many times do I mutter the next line or plot development before it lands on screen. OK not really but maaybe a little 😉

      Reply

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