Review: Pitch Perfect 3: Strained, laboured efforts

 06 Jan 2018 - 9:42

Review: Pitch Perfect 3: Strained, laboured efforts
A still from the movie Pitch Perfect 3.

By Troy Ribeiro / IANS

Film: "Pitch Perfect 3" | Director: Trish Sie | Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Hana Mae Lee, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Chrissie Fit, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, John Lithgow, DJ Khaled and Ruby Rose | Rating: **

"Age wrinkles the body and quitting wrinkles the soul," enthusiastically blurted by one of the Bellas simply puts into perspective the continuation of this series.

Five years after its first appearance as a teen musical to impose its voice in the panorama of adolescent cinema, this series seems to lose its sheen.

In 2012, when "Pitch Perfect" was released, the Bellas, an-all female A Cappella (singing without instrumental accompaniment) group from Barden University in the US made its appearance in a singing competition, they were marvelled at and hence "Pitch Perfect 2" was an organic expectation.

"Pitch Perfect 2" was able to prolong the achievements of the first and give the team a new dimension by expanding their ambitions. But the third instalment, with its cardboard thin plot, seems like a lazy automation of sequels.

The film begins with an action-packed sequence on a yacht somewhere off the coast of France and then flashes back three weeks earlier to give us an insight into what led to that disastrous incident.

It is three years after their last performance. The Bellas have graduated university and moved on in the real world trying to find a foothold in various careers. So when Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), now a senior at Barden and leader of a group, invites the Bellas for a performance, they are all excited. But upon arriving at the event, they are told that the reunion wasn't for the Bellas to sing together, but to watch Emily perform with the new Bellas.

Disappointed at the turn of events, they realize that their lives are miserable without being part of the team. So when Aubrey (Anna Camp) tells them about the overseas, "four country-four days" performance accessed by her Army officer father, they agree to participate. On arriving at the venue, they realise that the performance in actuality is a competition where the winner gets to open for the renowned DJ Khaled.

The others in the competition are the all-female rock band Evermoist helmed by the striking Australian actress Ruby Rose, a western-country band and a hip-hop duo.

Between the musical numbers and romantic flirtations, the Bellas are forced to deal with Fat Amy's long estranged father (John Lithgow), whose desire to reconnect with his daughter has ulterior motives.

In general, the script by Kay Cannon and Mike White, tries to be very different, injecting family aspects, action sequences and in a military setting. They are all half-heartedly induced making the plot seem like too much of a departure from its predecessors.

The humour may appeal to the fans of this trilogy, but many of them are sadly just repeats from past films. The only saving grace is the performance of the cast and their group chemistry, despite the romance tracks being perfunctory.

Overall, despite its excellently performed and choreographed song-and-dance numbers and decent technical and production values, director Trish Sie, who in 2014 had given us "Step Up: All In", fails to impress us with this film.

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