The stakes were high, where the difference between winning and losing could easily be decided by a single note. I am especially fond of powerful, strong female voices; so, I was ready to see this musical movie. After a disastrous finish to last year’s singing competition the Barden Bellas, an all girl a cappella group, were determined to regroup and win the trophy this year. Led by the controlling Aubrey and her sidekick Chloe, played by Anna Camp (The Help, Forgetting the Girl) and Brittany Snow (Hairspray, Prom Night), the two needed to replenish and reinvigorate the Bellas. In one of the better scenes, reluctant freshman Beca, played by Anna Kendrick (50/50, Up in the Air), was cornered in the dormitory’s showers when her singing caught the ear of nearby Chloe. The competition heated up when the school’s male a cappella group’s Jesse, played by Skylar Astin (Taking Woodstock, Hamlet 2) took an interest in more than just Beca’s singing. Fitting into the Step Up or Bring it On type of movies, this film was like an older version of the television show Glee. The singing was fun, while the bulk of the comedy was easily handled by the character Fat Amy, played by Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids, Bachelorette). The funniest bits, however, came from the competition announcers Gail and John, played by Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, People Like Us) and John Michael Higgins (Bad Teacher, Big Miracle). Overall the movie was out of tune for me. I felt there was not enough development to the characters, making them cartoonish. Anna Kendrick was quite good both in acting and singing; I forgot she had been nominated for a Tony Award previously. The story for the most part was predictable; some new twists would have been nice. Even with some sour notes, this harmless comedy had some decent riffs.
2 1/3 stars