• Ben Keightley

Pitch Perfect 3 (2017) - Trish Sie

Updated: May 7, 2020

Pitch Perfect 3 is a narrative mess. Completely unnecessary and yet brilliantly hilarious and a real feelgood film. Let's be honest. If you are watching Pitch Perfect 3 by choice you are probably already a convert of the series. If Pitch Perfect was a smartly written musical comedy which was sharp, endearing and worked perfectly in the college setting, and Pitch Perfect 2 began to stretch the concept by extending the premise out into the inevitable international competition, Pitch Perfect 3 abandons all notions of a sensible plot and using the flimsiest of ideas to get the belles back together for one final adventure.

We met the Belles at a low point in their lives. Beca is in an unfulfilling job as a record producer, having the bend to the egos are untalented artists. Fat Amy is unemployed but trying to make money doing street art musical renditions of Amy Winehouse. Chloe is applying to veterinary school and Aubrey is working at the Lodge of Fallen Leaves. All are miserable in their jobs so jump at the chance to perform when invited by Emily, now leader of the Belles, to a performance at a event. Getting the wrong end of the stick all the Belles arrive in full costume ready to relive former glories. When they learn that Emily invited them just to watch, the depression and misery is fully realised.

Fearing the mundanity of working life and craving their former glories the Belles decide to get back together for one final tour. Luckily, Aubrey's father is in charge of arranging USO shows and despite being somewhat estranged manages to her the group added to the bill. To make the whole enterprise slightly more dramatic their is a conceit where the USO show will also serve as a competition. The winner of which will get to open for DJ Khalid at the end of the show. But let's be honest. We're not here for the plot. We're here for the singing, the music, the relationships, and the comedy.

Thankfully, none of the wit, good-humour or great musical numbers have gone missing like the plot or character development has. There are some semblance of subplots including more father issues. As well as Aubrey's feelings of abandonment and disappointment of never having had her father see her perform, Fat Amy gets a rather bizarre but ultimately hilarous back story with her father (played delightfully by John Lithgow) as a criminal who has come in search of a fortune Fat Amy has in the Cayman Islands. This plot in particular feels very out of place, and one wonders if there wasn't a bigger storyline that got edited out along the way.

The other plot which is utterly irrelevant but absolutely hilarious (and I'd argue necessary for the franchise) is the return of a cappella commentator's John and Gail. They are introduced as making an insulting documentary about the failure of the Bellas and end up commentating on the live performances. Their inclusion is utterly ridiculous and reinforces, self-consciously, the pointlessness of the entire sequel. But they bring some of the best jokes and are some of the most beloved characters of the franchise. It wouldn't have been the same without them.

As with the previous two films, Pitch Perfect 3 really comes to life when the Bellas are singing or when they are spending time together. The franchise has never lost sight of these two strengths, and there is a real pleasure in spending time with these characters and seeing them tease, joke, support and be there for each other.

Pitch Perfect 3 never reaches the heights of the original and falls short of the first sequel, but the film has enough affection, love and rousing performances, along with some killers jokes to make it a fun time. If you love the franchise you won't be disappointed with this final call.

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