The music soars in "Pitch Perfect," a comedy about competing college singing groups, but everything else is off-key.
Freshman Beca (Anna Kendrick) arrives at Barden College, where nerdy a cappella singing troupes rule the campus. She reluctantly joins the Bellas an all-female ensemble stuck in a safe '80s-pop vibe while their cocky archrivals, the Treble Makers, rule the school with their up-to-date flair. Beca butts heads with the tradition-minded lead Bella, Aubrey (Anna Camp), as the group bickers its way to a return trip to the national finals where Aubrey suffered an embarrassing projectile-vomiting meltdown.
Alas, that's the humor level here. Screenwriter Kay Cannon (a writer for "30 Rock," here with her first feature) throws together a disjointed mix of competition cliches, while director Jason Moore tries to hide the damage by adding comedians Rebel Wilson (as a boisterous singer who calls herself "Fat Amy"), Hana Mae Lee (as a super-quiet Asian student), and "Workaholics" star Adam DeVine (as the most obnoxious of the Treble Makers).
The only time the movie connects is when Kendrick & Co. start singing, performing dynamic and energetically staged numbers.
Opens Friday, Sept. 28, at theaters everywhere; rated PG-13 for sexual material, language and drug references; 112 minutes. For more movie reviews, visit nowsaltlake.com/movies.