Zinging with loud head bopping musical numbers, funky blends and some funny out there lines or moments, this singing comedy film follows a more than obvious set of standards in the story. Predictability of plot and the sometimes patchy in intention aside, this film is an aca-ceptable and average foray into humour and music.
Attending Barden University but really desiring to be a music producer, Beca (Anna Kendrick) takes on her father’s words to try and live the college life. She signs up for an a cappella female group – The Barden Bellas led by stuck up and traditional Aubrey (Anna Camp). Trying to get back to the competition finals the band face other college singers led by arrogant Bumper (Adam DeVine) and the threat of not seeing eye to eye as Beca wants to put her mark onto the group whilst juggling feelings for rival talent Jesse (Skylar Astin).
The look of this film is very American, the campus setting, the way it all comes together plays like a US dream of comedy tinged with that expected romantic B-plot. I do like the characteristics of Beca and Jesse, both wishing to be involved in music, differing worlds of the spectrum but both admirable and with Jesse comes a nice segway into including references to ‘Jaws’ and ‘The Breakfast Club’. This entire romance is eye roll worthy from the off as we gauge the outcome but at least it’s not rammed down our throats which is a saving grace.
The people in charge of utilising the songs for this film have done a commendable job in making past and present (at the time) tracks cool and work for the movie. Shuffling like an erratic iPod from Madonna to Miley to Simple Minds tie into the narrative nicely and are performed greatly also. Stand out musical mastery includes versions of No Diggity, Just the Way you Are and of course the toe tapping cup song, When I’m Gone. The sickly sweet repetition of the Bellas and their harmonica introduced The Sign is a funny note too in how people may deem the dweeby manner of all singing vocal groups.
It works also in stemming from the craze of a cappella fandom rocketed by the TV show ‘Glee’ and extending it into a feature and adding better doses of comedy and mash-ups. I was a massive lover of the telly show for a while before I came to realise how terrible the writing was and even though this movie is predictable the characters work and plot points run their designed course. The mash ups, inspired by Beca’s talent for DJing are punchy well orchestrated tunes and in fact really catchy so kudos.
Anna Kendrick comes along as you might expect Kendrick would but her Tony talents are put to good use as she demonstrates her impressive singing ability alongside her awkward yet assured role as Beca. Anna Camp is uptight and cringe as obsessive blonde leader of the pack, she plays it well echoing squeaky rudeness of her ‘True Blood’ days. Brittany Snow does really nicely as the attractive co-lead of the Bellas, not being the Plastic she easily could have been but showing care and harmony in her role as Chloe. Rebel Wilson is actually for me, the most irritating thing about this movie, the constant pull of the camera to her gurning or making annoying quips about things is not funny, but people seem to adore Fat Amy for some reason so she’ll no doubt have more screen time in the sequel. Hana Mae Lee is fantastic as oddball near mute Lilly, commenting on pyromania and twin eating in the quietest strangest way imaginable, the Allison basket case of this film.
Fun enough to suffice as a rainy day movie or a flick to put on with mates around while chowing down on pizza and sweets. It’s entertaining, the music is spot on and a sequel isn’t a bad idea, just not as amazing as people I know have told me it is.