In a year dominated by sequels, prequels and never ending comic book adaptations, one would have hoped that the third instalment in the Pitch Perfect series would be just the thing to inject some much needed seasonal cheer to our end of the year shenanigans. With a soundtrack packed full of cheery top 40 anthems and a cast list lead by some of the most likeable young female actors working in Hollywood at the moment, all Pitch Perfect 3 had to do was stick to a tried and tested formula and hope for the best. Sadly for all concerned, the film is a far cry from the charming buoyancy of the first two, and ultimately falls short of bringing anything of a value to the franchise, resorting instead to rehashed gags held together by a frankly baffling narrative arc.
Picking up from where we left off in the last instalment, Pitch Perfect 3 sees the Bellas finally graduated from college and out in the real world. As they struggle to fit in in a work environment where acapella singing isn’t the be-all and end-all of of everything, the girls jump at the chance of reuniting for an overseas tour entertaining the troops in Europe and beyond. However, to be in with a chance of making it to the end of the tour, the girls must beat the competition and convince internet meme king and “international superstar” DJ Khaled that they are the best opening act for him.
Reprising her role as Beca, Anna Kendrick is every bit as likeable as she’s ever been, while Rebel Wilson puts in the same old routine we’ve come to expect from her as “fat Amy”. The rest of the cast is made up of the usual suspects with the return of Elizabeth Banks as sardonic reporter Gail and Anna Camp as spoiled army brat Aubry, whilst John Lithgow puts in a brilliantly bonkers turn, Australian accent and all, as Amy’s estranged dad.
Director Trish Sie who is mostly famed for her work with the band OK Go on some of their most iconic music videos, does a decent enough job in keeping the narrative flowing, but the whole production is let down by a flimsy screenplay and what can only be described as a ridiculous premise. While the film does its best to recapture the essence of what made the first film into the success it was, we are eventually left wondering why this is just not working as it should do. As the fat jokes fall flat and the slapstick feels a little too desperate, it is perhaps time to admit that this series has been taken as far as it could go and it’s time to pull the plug on the whole thing.
On the whole, Pitch Perfect 3 does a decent enough job in keeping you entertained for 90 minutes or so, but ultimately fails in its quest of delivering a coherent storyline. By moving the action out of its comfort zone and into a new setting, the film is sadly unable to offer the same familiarity of the first two, and in the end fails to present the same exciting premise of the original. Having said that, if it’s acapella singing you’re after and aren’t too fussed about the story, then you’ve come to the right place, just don’t expect much more from it.