Pitch Perfect makes no pretense at any sort of originality. You might generously call it a mashup of similar-genre films such as Bring It On, 8 Mile, and The House Bunny. So we have a mashup movie full of mashup songs — a mashup squared if you like. Not so generously, you could call it a straight but weak rip-off of Bring It On — just swap out cheerleading with a cappella singing and lower the directing skill and production value a few pegs.
Pitch Perfect begins by throwing you right into a singing competition, and rushes choppily forward. In a way it’s refreshing, but there’s also a lack of narrative ability here. Luckily, that’s not what this movie is about. Though utterly contrived, Pitch Perfect admits it. It knows what it’s about: fun singing performances and scattered light comic moments, some better than others. As a comedy it only half succeeds — largely based on the affection we have toward Anna Kendrick & Co., but whenever the actors sing, so does the movie.
So judging it strictly as a musical, Pitch Perfect is not nearly the success of Rock of Ages, but by spending enough of the running time in song, it succeeds. Jersey Boys failed because it didn’t focus on the music. Despite its narrative shortcomings, Pitch Perfect succeeds by knowing what it is: a musical. Just wish it had been as completely entertaining as Kendrick’s “Cups” video. Now available via iTunes rental. 6/10