Pitch Perfect 3 Hits the Familiar Notes

If you’re reading this, odds are you’re already planning on seeing the latest Pitch Perfect movie—you just might be looking for some additional justification. So here it is. If you liked the first two films in this franchise (everything these days is a franchise), Pitch Perfect 3 won’t disappoint. There’s female bonding, the same characters you’ve followed, and a little off-color humor.

At this point, do you really care what the plot is? I can tell you it follows the same formula as the other films: the Bellas decide to get back together for one last hurrah and embark on a USO tour to bring a capella to the troops. Of course, they run into competition in the form of the other acts also on the tour, their main competition being the all-girl band Evermoist (led by Ruby Rose of Orange Is the New Black fame). But it’s a USO tour, so how can there be a competition? you may ask. Well, it turns out that DJ Khaled (yes, that DJ Khaled) is looking for an opener for his performance at the end of the tour, and he’ll pick out of the groups touring. Make sense? Nah, not really, but it’s an excuse to try to heighten the dramatic tension. It’s the weakest plot thread in the film, and there are even some throwaway lines sprinkled in that indicate the Bellas needed a competition, since there’s always a competition.

All-female band Evermoist

Evermoist! © Universal Pictures

If anything, it’s the one-liners and asides that will make or break your enjoyment of the film. All the regulars get their chances to shine with these, though of course there’s specific focus on Anna Kendrick‘s Beca and Rebel Wilson’s Fat Amy. In fact, while Fat Amy has had breakout success and saw her part grow in the second film, the script decides to give her even more to do this time around. Your mileage on Wilson’s shtick will vary. I think she’s better in small doses and can grate on you in longer stretches (similar to my opinion of Jack Black). Even the two Bellas with the smallest roles, Jessica (Kelly Jakle) and Ashley (Shelley Regner), get a chance to take a little screen time with one perfectly placed aside. These two have been in all three films, and it could have been fun to give them even a little more to do besides the singing montages.

The Bellas onstage in camoflouge outfits

Camo for the troops. Universal Pictures

And no Pitch Perfect film could be complete without the singing performances. While overly produced and virtually impossible in terms of a group actually making that sound in real life, they’re fun. Notably, it was a plot point in the first film that the Bellas only won because Chloe (Brittany Snow) was finally able to sing bass. Now, they don’t even bother hiding the fact that Chloe is singing lyrics and not the bass line. If that plot hole ruins it for you, then you’re probably not going to like Pitch Perfect 3. But if you can gloss over that and other ludicrousness and go with the aca-flow, then this review will reinforce your decision to go see the film. Some fun can be had in this third (and supposedly final) film, but don’t expect anything amazing. The law of diminishing returns is in ample effect here.

Beca onstage

Anna Kendrick returns as Beca. Universal Pictures

Now, if someone can do an impression of DJ Khaled’s delightfully unhinged performance, that will make me laugh.

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