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Title: Pitch Perfect
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow
Directed by: Jason Moore
Written by: Jay Cannon
Studio: Universal Studios
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 113 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: December 18th, 2012

Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :4stars:
HTS Overall Score:81.5

I have to get this off my chest. I hate “Glee,” I hate “High school Musical,” and most other films in that genre. My wife wanted to drag me into seeing “Pitch Perfect” theatrically, and I did my best to “find something else to do,” if you know what I mean. I went into this review wondering if I needed a couple of beers to help me get through it. While “Pitch Perfect” is a bit peppy and too cute for its own good, sometimes it blindsided me. I honestly didn't expect to enjoy it nearly as much as I did. Instead of being another “Glee” knockoff, “Pitch Perfect” bares some fangs and adds a little bit of a harsher bite to the peppy musical numbers. While never gaining the same level of mockery that “Bring It On” did a decade or so ago, but it rises above its predecessors and does what any good movie can only hope to do: entertain the audience.

Barden University’s all-female A Capella group crashes and burns in last semester's national finals when one of their members loses her cool during a solo. A summer later, said member Aubrey (Anna Camp) has inherited leadership, and, along with other senior member Chloe (Brittany Snow), must scrape the bottom of the proverbial barrel and find the misfits and outcasts of the singing community in hopes that she can mold them into an award-winning musical team in hopes of claiming the glory denied her due to said horrible mishap. Beca Mitchel (Anna Kendrick), a freshman who just wants to placate her domineering father and get through a semester or two of college before leaving for Los Angeles to pursue a career as a DJ, is roped into becoming the final member of the Barden Bellas; ironically, the cute guy she’s been "not seeing" is initiated into the Bellas' on-campus competition: the Treble Makers. Beca makes no bones that she’s not a team player, but the Bellas need a drastic makeover to their tired old routine, and Beca looks like just the girl to make it happen.

Things go from bad to worse when Aubrey’s generic, over-used routine bores the competition judges to death and gets them eliminated from the contest. Beca tries to improvise on stage and nearly boosts them into the running, but it’s too little too late. With that final straw, the group falls apart; Beca leaves, Aubrey and Chloe are at each other’s throats, and the rest of the team seems to have lost the will to win. As fate would have it, a small technicality brings them back into the running, and the girls have to work together to mix things up as they've never done before in order to rise from good to great and defeat their rivals, the Treble Makers.

“Pitch Perfect” treads a fine line between honoring the young talent they present on-screen, and mocking the entire “Glee” business model just like “Bring It On” did for the cheerleading community. The sharp repartee brings it to a more adult level, but never really seems to meet its true potential. I think here we have a case of the director trying to play it safe with a PG-13 rating instead of going for the jugular and having more freedom with an R rating. The jabs and pokes at the musical industry are witty and sharp-edged, but the film seems to lack conviction on just how strong it wants to come off. What really makes the movie work more than anything is the camaraderie and the performances of our leads. Anna Kendrick does a fantastic job as the conflicted Beca, and Aubrey and Chloe play a fantastic mean-spirited/sweet duo, giving a bit more a human feel to them. Some of the best lines actually come from the side characters, and when least expected (well, except for Rebel Wilson, who should never be allowed to act in a movie, PERIOD). Cute and dark at the same time, “Pitch Perfect” is a witty little comedy that surprised everyone; it came out of nowhere and sideswiped audiences, making 70 million dollars theatrically on a shoestring budget, with a sequel already on the way.


Rated PG-13 for sexual material, language and drug references

Video :5stars:

Universal has given as an absolutely excellent 1.85:1 AVC encoded transfer. “Pitch Perfect” is a glitzy, shiny, and in-your-face type of movie, and the video transfer definitely mimics that feel. Bright colors shine from all angles; the flash of the stage and richly ornate costumes literally pop off the screen. Blacks are deep and inky without losing anything in the shadows or crushing the blacks blatantly. Facial shorts are detailed and clean, showing every pore and makeup mishap of our gorgeous stars. Long shots are good to excellent; the only thing that brings the video score down a tad is some post processing done to the film to give it a rather smooth and shiny look. That processing also robs us of some detail on the wide angle shots. I don’t see any obvious aliasing or haloing or any other compression artifacts, and as a whole I have to give a solid thumbs up to Universal’s work on this transfer.

Audio :4stars:

Let’s get this out and in front right off the bat. This is not a true musical, but a musically centered film, and as such, the music is the highlight of the show. The audio lights up the front stage and shines whenever the music begins. Bass is tight and punchy, only there to accentuate the musical numbers, but is very clean and distortion free - no bullets flying by our ears or explosions to make our subs cry for mercy, but a very nice musical quality to it nonetheless. I was worried about how the audio would fare, being that my last musical based film (Rock of Ages) had some serious dynamic range issues. Not to fear, “Pitch Perfect” is very well balanced and the range never strays to far up or down to cause any problems. The vocals are balanced right in the front stage and the music never overpowers or disrupts them one bit. While as excellent as the music and vocals are, the surrounds are used sparingly. This is a very front heavy, dialogue based comedy, and no amount of music will make that rear soundstage light up and totally envelope one into the center of the “action,” so to speak. For what it is, “Pitch Perfect” succeeds in spades, but its own limitations keep it from being an outstanding track.

Extras: :3.5stars:
• Directors Commentary
• Prodcuers Commentary
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Meanwhile...
• Line-O-Ramas
• Backstage at Barden
• A Look Inside
• On the Set: Burrito Drive By!
• Music Video

Overall: :4stars:

“Pitch Perfect” isn’t going to be a movie that wins any Oscars or evolve into a comedy cult classic, but it is funny and does what a movie should do: entertain the viewers. Director Jason Moore does an excellent job of balancing the genre mish-mashes while keeping the audience engaged and interested instead of being confused with such a drastic mix up of movie genres. Cute and funny, mean spirited and witty, they all describe it to a T. For fans of “Bring It On,” “Pitch Perfect” brings back that same wickedly funny jabs at the music industry that made “Bring It On” a guilty pleasure for all of us (myself included). For people who aren’t sure, or would only be caught watching this because a female dragged you to it, give it a chance; you might very well be pleasantly surprised.

Buy Pitch Perfect on Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Rent It

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