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Movie review: 'Pitch Perfect' only works when it's singing

Published September 28, 2012 3:19 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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.

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'Pitch Perfect'

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.