Magazine article Screen International

'Pitch Perfect 3': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Pitch Perfect 3': Review

Article excerpt

Singing sensations the Bellas return for a third adventure that fails to hit the high notes

Pitch Perfect 3

Dir: Trish Sie. US. 2017. 93mins

Even the catchiest number eventually gets stale over time. Pitch Perfect 3 tries to send the Bellas out on a high note, but this thin sequel shows the strain of stretching a likeable premise to its breaking point. There’s still some pleasure to be had in hanging out with this snarky, sappy ensemble but, for a movie that preaches the importance of moving on, this very much feels like a cautionary tale about what happens when filmmakers try to cash in one too many times on past success. Even the snazzy a capella renditions of ubiquitous pop hits have lost their crackle.

As if sensing that the novelty is gone, Pitch Perfect 3 tries to compensate by super-sizing the implausibility and sentimentality

Opening in time for Christmas in the UK and US, this Universal release brings back a cast that includes Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Hailee Steinfeld. Pitch Perfect 3 won’t be the only musical in theatres - Hugh Jackman’s The Greatest Showman also looms - but the audience that turned up for Pitch Perfect 2 ($288 million worldwide) should still be vocal in their support.

Set a few years after the last instalment, Pitch Perfect 3 finds Beca (Kendrick) struggling with adulthood in a job she detests. Quitting impulsively, she learns that she and the rest of the Bellas have been invited to perform overseas on a USO tour. Happy to reunite with her beloved college friends and put her life on hold, she quickly gets into hijinks with crass Amy (Wilson), thoughtful Emily (Steinfeld) and perky Chloe (Brittany Snow).

Director Trish Sie (Step Up All In) gives the material the right amount of irreverence, adopting the same lightly self-mocking tone that was on display in 2015’s Pitch Perfect 2. The new film is proudly aware of how ludicrous it is - at one point morphing into a full-on spy-thriller - and the sunnily silly plot mostly functions to get the Bellas to their next song-and-dance number or comedic set piece. Yet, it’s impossible to miss the film’s wheezing tone. Wilson can still deliver the occasionally shocking quip, and Kendrick remains a master of deadpan reaction shots but there’s an awful lot of busyness disguised as madcap tomfoolery. …

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