Movie review – The right pitch for lasses

2012-12-09 10:00

Film: Pitch Perfect (UIP)

Director: Jason Moore

Featuring: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Skylar Astin, Anna Camp and Rebel Wilson

Rating: 7/10

I used to sing in the school choir and it was not considered “cool”.

But that might have been different

if I’d been part of a hip all-girl gang called, say, the A Sharps and we got our groove on singing pop classics.

TV’s Glee and spin-offs like Pitch Perfect do for singing geeks what Bring It On did for cheerleaders – but that’s where the similarities end.

Cheerleading is easily the most sexist construct devised by a patriarchal society: getting a bunch of girls in skimpy outfits to cheer on a bunch of guys as they huff and puff around a sports field.

I think ANC Women’s League president Angie Motshekga has been watching too much Bring It On and not enough Pitch Perfect.

Anna Kendrick heads this sassy young cast as Becca, a kid who just wants to go to Hollywood to become a DJ but her college professor dad insists she gets a degree first.

So she sullenly turns up to study and to get her into the swing of college life, dad also insists she joins a society. So she ends up joining The Bellas, an a cappella group.

They are an all-girl outfit that needs an overhaul if they are to beat the Treble Makers, another a cappella group that happens to be all boys.

On this campus, the sports jocks don’t even get a cameo.

The best thing about Pitch Perfect – which brings us back to Angie – is that it is a gender-neutral thing.

The girls don’t cheer the boys on; they take them on in competition. A rather refreshing angle from Hollywood’s usually patriarchal halls.

The Bellas are headed by Aubrey (Anna Camp), who runs the group like her personal entourage.

After another competition failure, her second-in-command, Chloe (Brittany Snow), talks her into recruiting girls who are good singers but not necessarily physically “perfect”.

Hence Becca gets in with her sulky face, as does Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), who calls herself that “so that you skinny bitches don’t behind my back”.

Suddenly, The Bellas are about their talent and not their looks, and their journey is remixed into a funny musical romp that will make you smile all the way through.

Pitch Perfect makes up in performances what it lacks in originality though, of course, its biggest break from the teen flick tradition is that the girls get the better of the boys.

There are romances – primarily between Becca and one of the Trebles, Jesse. He’s played by Skylar

Astin, a relative newcomer who is one to watch.

Jason Moore, the director, is also likely to get more big screen work after this. He started his career on Dawson’s Creek, so is no stranger to the teen scene.

This is, like the first Twilight movie, a teen flick that is pretty good fun for adults too. It has more of a plot than Step Up and a much better message than the dreaded Twilight saga.

There is some moping but at least in Becca’s case it’s over her desire to get on with her DJing career, and not over an emotionally unavailable undead sugar daddy.

Pitch Perfect hits the right note. Put it on your family’s watchlist for the holidays.

» Follow me on Twitter @GayleMahala

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