A notebook of links and commentary on film and the arts, with occasional stabs at understanding current events. A mix of the serious and the silly, and with a special emphasis on Ms. Natalie Portman.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Redbox Diaries #2: Pitch Perfect
You might have a curious feeling after watching Pitch Perfect, the surprise hit comedy about a young woman named Beca (Anna Kendrick) who finds herself in the middle of a collegiate a cappella singing competition. Beca is supposed to be an “alternative” girl who would spend all her time at the campus radio station if she could. Writer Kay Cannon must not have much of a familiarity with the indie rock world though, because Beca’s idea of cutting edge is to produce mash-ups of Top 40 songs that she hopes will land her a big-time producing gig one day. It is as if Radiohead never existed. I like the chipper Anna Kendrick most of the time, but she is miscast here. Kendrick has the air of someone who’ll endure unhappiness to get what she wants; someone like Kat Dennings could have had more fun puncturing the other characters pomposity about their music. Pitch Perfect isn’t as bawdy as it thinks it is either. There’s a projectile vomiting gag early that gets repeated and some absurdity from Rebel Wilson as a fellow chorister named “Fat Amy,” but that’s about it. A generic message of inclusiveness floats over the proceedings, and Beca’s chorus is made up of a rather predictable assortment of ethnically diverse misfits. In the film’s conception music is something one does to find “acceptance,’ or friends, or a boyfriend like the dull Jesse (Skylar Astin). Even Glee is better on the work of singing, and on the way that the arts can provide a sense of identity. I can see why Pitch Perfect sold tickets; if someone saw it at the right age they might feel that they were being tickled by something grown up, but no one should confuse this with an actual good movie. Pitch Perfect tries to be edgy, upbeat, and outrageous and ends up being very little.