12A – 93mins – 2017
THE CHAPTER BEFORE THE NEXT
Three years out of college, we re-join the (former) Barden Bellas as they embark on the next chapter of their lives… except none of them much like adult life and all are far too desperate to re-live their glory days and sing with their competition-winning a cappella troupe again. Hating their jobs and no longer with their boyfriends, they all jump at the opportunity to perform together one more time, at a set of concerts for the troops on an overseas United Services Organisation tour.
Adding an element of competition to the re-tread plot is the reveal that these concerts are essentially a series of warm-up gigs for the grand final concert, where the act voted best will open for renowned beat-master DJ Khaled (playing himself) – but can the Bellas compete with ‘actual’ bands who use instruments and perform their own songs? Well of course they can, even if the snobbery amongst their rivals (including xXx 3 star Ruby Rose as the lead singer of a punk trio disturbingly named Evermoist) sees them humiliated in a riff-off and seriously doubting their talent.
With all the guys from the previous instalments AWOL, a trio of newcomers to the franchise (Matt Lanter, Guy Burnett, DJ Looney) provide predictable love interests for Chloe (Brittany Snow), Beca (Anna Table 19 Kendrick) and Lilly (Hana Mae Lee) respectively, while Aubrey (Anna Camp) and Fat Amy (Rebel How to be Single Wilson) both have father issues, the latter of which leads to the film’s explosive and outrageously OTT high-stakes finale. John Lithgow adopts a ridiculously stereotypical accent as Fat Amy’s estranged father, which often distanced me from feeling any vague sense of threat from his criminal actions.
Directed by Step Up: All In‘s Trish Sie, Pitch Perfect 3 is sadly not perfect. Strip it of its musical numbers and its plot is contrived, unnecessary and, quite frankly, nonsense. And yet, despite its flaws, it is a hell of a lot of FUN. The characters are bright and bubbly, the jokes often made me laugh and the songs are foot-tappingly addictive. I’m not ashamed to admit that had I not been in the cinema I could quite easily have stood up and clapped along to a rousing rendition of George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90”. Flawed or not, for a film to inspire that kind of effect in me, I have to admire it. So I happily bump up my initially considered score, even if this is the weakest entry in the aca-taining trilogy.
CR@B’s Claw Score: