Review: Third time's the charm for the now-adult Bellas in 'Pitch Perfect 3'

Marcus Goh
PHOTO: United International Pictures

Fast-paced, funny, and full of heart. That’s what the final movie in the “Pitch Perfect” trilogy is, although there is sure to be a fourth movie if this one does well. After all, “Pitch Perfect 2” already gave the characters an excellent send-off after graduation. Despite that, “Pitch Perfect 3” continues the story organically by introducing believable and legitimate obstacles for them — adulthood.

The musical comedy sees a cappella group the Bellas reuniting for another chance to perform. Since they are all deeply disenfranchised with their adult lives, this comes as a welcome invitation for them. However, they discover that competition is much, much stiffer than what they had to contend with previously, as they now face professional bands who seem to be completely out of their league.

“Pitch Perfect 3” is fast-paced fun that sees the Bellas leaping from one hilarious hijink to another. Exposition is kept to a minimum, since the audience would have already bought in to the idea of a world where people compete by singing against each other. In fact, there’s even a line mocking the exposition they have to provide, so you can tell that the producers are highly aware of the comedy genre they’re in and the necessity (or lack thereof) of even providing an explanation for their circumstances.

PHOTO: United International Pictures

That’s one of the greatest strengths of “Pitch Perfect 3”. It’s fun, and it’s clear that the cast and crew delighted in making it and delivering the funnies. There are no forced scenes or artificially created situations, because each setup has its own payoff. In a climate where big budget movies are constantly plagued with creative differences and the clash between commercialism and artistry, this movie is a refreshing reminder that it is possible to have fun making a film.

Part of this fun comes from the varied comedy in the film. To begin with, having to participate in a music competition where everyone is over the top is already a premise that tickles. There are different levels of humour, ranging from physical to dialogue to incongruity. But what “Pitch Perfect 3” excels in are the witty comebacks and exasperated reactions from the characters. The comedy comes from character, which is one of the strongest ways to generate laughs.

PHOTO: United International Pictures

The biggest laughs come from Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), who proves that she’s still a master of comedy even though it’s her third time in the role. Her large ego is played for laughs, and she’s given her own character arc (replete with a stuffy British father, John Lithgow’s Fergus) to grow on. Her energetic delivery and rapid-fire sarcasm are as wonderful as ever, and she’s given several moments of awesome to show that there’s more to her than just her size.

The music is as excellent as ever, with the perfect opening number (Britney Spear’s “Toxic”) that sets the tone for the rest of the film. The bands that the Bellas battle against are more memorable than previous films and execute their song and dance numbers with sophistication and variety. So if you’re expecting the same old, same old kind of performances, this is where “Pitch Perfect 3” surprises you pleasantly.

PHOTO: United International Pictures

“Pitch Perfect 3” is an excellent addition to the holiday movie roster and would have made a wonderful family film, if not for its PG13 rating. Still, its comedy, music, and story make it the perfect movie to watch over the Christmas season, and a fantastic way to champion the holiday spirit.

Should you watch this at weekend movie ticket prices? Yes.

Should you watch more than once? If you like musicals.

Score: 4.1/5

Secret ending? There’s a fun epilogue in the credits. 

Running time: 93 minutes (~1.5 hours)

“Pitch Perfect 3” is an American musical comedy that’s the third in the “Pitch Perfect” film franchise.

It is directed by Trish Sie and written by Kay Cannon, with additional screenplay credits for Mike White. It stars Anna Kendrick (Beca Mitchell), Rebel Wilson (Fat Amy), Hailee Steinfeld (Emile Junk), Britanny Snow (Chloe Beale), Anna Camp (Aubrey Posen), Hana Mae Lee (Esther), Ester Dean (Cynthia-Rose Adams), Chrissie Fit (Flo), Alexis Knapp (Stacie Conrad), Kelley Jakle (Jessica), Shelley Regner (Ashley), John Michael Higgins (John Smith), Elizabeth Banks (Gail), John Lithgow (Fergus), Ruby Rose (Calamity), Guy Burnet (Theo), and DJ Khaled as himself. It is rated PG13.

“Pitch Perfect 3” opens in cinemas:
– 21 December, 2017 (Singapore)
– 28 December, 2017 (Malaysia)
– 8 January, 2017 (Philippines)  

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Marcus Goh is a Singapore television scriptwriter, having written for “Lion Mums”, “Crimewatch”, “Incredible Tales”, and “Police & Thief”. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. You can find him on social media as Optimarcus and on his site. The views expressed are his own.

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