“Glee: The Movie” is probably what you’d expect of “Pitch Perfect,” the new college comedy from director Jason Moore and “30 Rock” writer Kay Cannon. But make no mistake: “Pitch Perfect” is not a movie musical. The characters don’t spontaneously burst into song, and the uproarious dialogue serves as much more than cheesy filler between elaborate musical numbers.
“Pitch Perfect” centers on struggling college freshman Beca (a serviceable Anna Kendrick, even if she is more goody–two–shoes than alternative music snob), who would rather be DJ’ing in L.A. than attending Barden University. At the urging of her father, she joins an all–female a cappella group, helping them on their quest to win a national competition and defeat their show–off male counterparts. Romance and many remixes of contemporary pop songs ensue.
But a description of the film’s typical and predictable plot cannot do justice to its true entertainment value, the bulk of which lies in the smaller, in–between moments and tossed–off jokes amongst characters. Its humor is both timely and timeless, mixed with an earnestness that, on its own, might tread vaguely into “Glee” territory. But its wit is so sharp, and its gags so outlandish, that the tone is able to remain closer to satire than saccharine.
This is thanks in large part to the incredible comedic talent of Rebel Wilson, who plays Fat Amy, another member of the Barden Bellas. Every time Fat Amy appeared, it seemed as though audience members sat up a little straighter, straining to hear the punch lines that their own guffaws were drowning out. Wilson’s raunchy physicality is unparalleled, and her myriad improvised lines will be quoted for a while.
“Pitch Perfect” is a film for and about college students that may prove as significant to them as John Hughes’s work did to high school kids. Deriving its comedy from spot–on observations about campus life and the intricacies of inter–club warfare, the film just gets college right. An instant classic that truly makes the grade.