A film that seems contractually-obliged to say the name ‘DJ Khaled’ every 30 seconds, Pitch Perfect 3 is a glaring missed opportunity that doesn’t do its cast justice. With a decent set-up, Pitch Perfect 3 looked like it could be on solid ground but instead of playing to its cast’s considerable strengths it relies on a lazy script and some silly circumstance to do the heavy lifting, which is a real shame.
It’s worth noting that the film has entertaining moments, and the chemistry of the principals make sure that you are never really clock-watching throughout the slender 93min runtime. But given that this is the last time we’ll spend with the Bellas, it seems ludicrous not to focus on their singing.
The set-up is sound – Beca (Anna Kendrick – The Accountant) has decided to quit her job as a music producer after being forced to make ridiculous concessions to please an overhyped new talent. So in a bit of a rut, she and flatmate Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson – Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie) are well up for reuniting with Aubrey (Anna Camp – Café Society), Chloe (Brittany Snow – Pitch Perfect) and the rest of the Bellas for a farewell reunion.
Entering a ‘battle of the bands’ style set-up whilst on a military tour entertaining US troops in Europe, Beca and the Bellas find that their competition this time around will force them to up their game. Especially if they want to win a coveted opening spot for celeb DJ Khaled. So far so good then. The set-up is clean and the action starts quite quickly which is good.
After a great riff-off battle with their new competition (including a Ruby Rose-led (John Wick: Chapter 2) guitar band called Evermoist), Pitch Perfect 3 then decides to abandon all of this for a needless subplot with Fat Amy and her estranged father (a scenery chewing John Lithgow – Miss Sloane). The film shifts focus and only features montages of their remaining performances as they make their way around Europe. Ruby Rose was just hired to scowl at the Bellas in a poorly-written role that wastes her talents. There are love connections to be made and some work better than others, but it all feels needlessly rushed. Kudos to Anna Kendrick for making script changes to make her love angle work more realistically for the character.
If there are positives to laud, it’s that the perennially under-appreciated duo of Brittany Snow and Anna Camp have finally been given more screen-time which is great to see. Why aren’t these two bigger stars? Hailee Steinfeld (The Edge of Seventeen) is awesome and should have been used more. The Bellas performances are all solid and they all sound amazing (which again makes me wonder why they were curbed). I wanted to see the Bellas perform every round in full, and see what their competition did to keep up. The finale also feels like a massive cop-out and denies us a truly rousing finale.
I’m a fan of these films so it makes it all the more annoying that Pitch Perfect 3 wasn’t nearly as good as it should have been. Even Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers) and John Michael Higgins (Pitch Perfect) aren’t afforded a decent script and are wasted here. There was so much comedy to mine from their predicament of having to shoot a guerrilla-style documentary of the Bella’s, but this was again shot down far too quickly. Pitch Perfect 3 isn’t the finale it should have been but the performances and the chemistry do just about enough to warrant the watch.
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Hailee Steinfeld, Rebel Wilson, Ruby Rose, Alexis Knapp, Elizabeth Banks, John Lithgow, Matt Lanter, Hana Mae Lee, John Michael Higgins, Chrissie Fit, Guy Burnet Director: Trish Sie Writer: Kay Cannon Released By: Universal Certificate: 12A Duration: 93 mins Release Date: 20th December 2017