Blu-ray Review: Pitch Perfect

STUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR: Jason Moore | CAST: Anna Kendrick, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 12/18/2013 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $34.98
BONUSES: commentaries, deleted and extended scenes, Line-O-Rama, music video, more
SPECS: PG-13 | 112 min. | genre | 1.85:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/Dolby Digital 5.1 | English and French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

“Exuberant” is probably the best word to describe the 2012 music-filled comedy Pitch Perfect.

Starring Anna Kendrick (End of Watch) as Becca, a college freshman who’s the perfect embodiment of outsider/rebel/cool-girl-in-the-rough, Pitch Perfect coasts by for nearly two hours on the power of sunny smiles (even if some of them are forced), upbeat harmonies, and the all-conquering force of Grrrl Power.

Offered the option by her father of dropping out of Barden University after her freshman year—and heading with his full blessing to L.A. and a music-industry internship—on the sole condition that she join at least one extra-curricular club, aspiring dee-jay Becca finds herself one of the Barden Bells, her school’s all-girl, a cappella, glee club-styled vocal group. The Bells are perpetual underdogs at the big regional (or state, or whatever) a cappella competition every year. If you guessed that, by the end of the film, Becca will have tipped the odds in the Bells’ favor through sheer moxy and a dash of independent “outsider-y” thinking, then you’d be right.

Pitch Perfect movie scene

Rebel Wilson (l.) and Anna Kendrick have a chat before a song in Pitch Perfect.

Along the way, Becca has to come to terms—and bond—with the well-intentioned but too-uptight-for-her-own-good team captain Aubrey (Anna Camp, TV’s The Good Wife), Aubrey’s best friend and slightly more laid-back co-captain Chloe (Brittany Snow, TV’s Harry’s Law), a rag-tag band of misfits headed with awesome weirdness by “Fat Amy,” self-monikered “so twig bitches like you don’t do it behind my back” and played for maximum gusto by the fast-rising Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids). Not surprisingly, Becca must also “deal” with a guy from the opposing all-boys’ team—who starts out irritating the life out of our heroine, but who’s so obviously the Perfect Guy For Her—played by Skylar Astin (Hamlet 2).

Director Jason Moore brings his previous decade of experience to this, his first feature. His helming of such young people’s television fare as Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill translates into comfortable, well-paced ensemble work by Pitch Perfect‘s peppy, young cast, while his experience as the Tony-nominated director of the 2004 Broadway musical Avenue Q was definitely tapped for the movie’s bright and buoyant musical sequences.

Pitch Perfect initially struck me as more than a little clichéd, but in all honesty, I’m a good twenty years older than its intended PG-13 audience. Once upon a time, my girlfriends and I would have loved this movie with a fervent love. And I’ll confess that I did end up loving an all-white-girl, a cappella arrangement of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” far, far more than I would have thought possible. Pitch Perfect may wear its heart on its sleeve, but it’s a heart that ticks in perfect tempo and never misses a beat.

While there aren’t any of the usual making-of featurettes included on the Blu-ray, there are two solid commentary tracks, one with co-producer Paul Brooks and another with director Jason Moore and co-producers Max Handelman and Elizabeth Banks (who also pops up in a cameo as a sarcastic a cappella on-air  commentator). There are also twenty-or-so extended and deleted scenes, as well as Universal’s branded “Line-O-Rama” montage, which collects a variety of alternate line deliveries from the film that fell to the cutting room floor so that they could eventually be presented here.

 

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About Gwen

Gwen Cooper is a movie and TV lover and the author of Homer's Odyssey (no, not the one you're thinking of).