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With Jim Sabatini

Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect
Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Anna Camp, Rebel Wilson and Ester Dean

Rated: PG-13 for sexual material, language and drug references.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: October 5, 2012 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.

This new zippy, predictable musical comedy should more than suit devotees of the small-screen hit Glee in embracing its tagline, 'Get Pitch Slapped.'
In spite of its course down the a cappella trail, the filmmaking and cutely charismatic lead actress Anna Kendrick (Paranorman, End of Watch, 50/50) add to the amusement propelled by some snappy dialogue and elaborate jokes.
Kendrick's nerdy Beca leaves home for college and quickly gets on the school radio airwaves with musically inclined Jesse (Skylar Astin); both end up on rival singing groups - she on the Bellas, he on the current victors - Troublemakers.
Even with common running narrative threads like the romantic one between Beca and Jesse and the two groups trying to survive the competition, Kay Cannon's writing is spiritedly pitched to the performances and how the music (many anthems or power ballads heard in the less accomplished Rock of Ages) complements the nervous, arguably infectious energy. Helmer Jason Moore is adept in chronicling a bumpy road for the groups and their participants that espouses more dynamic, shameless wit than some might have expected.
Behind what seems like a more gleeful, probably more gratuitous version of this year's "Joyful Noise" considering a projectile moment is the riffing through the mash-up Beca into a cappella with finally some musical accompaniment that leads to a wild climax.
The tension around Beca and Jesse suggest a certain Mean Girls vibe when it comes to how cliques can click, but there's more to Beca than one might expect for this kind of movie. Kendrick gets going in the role in the way she upsets imperious Aubrey (Anna Camp), who's surrounded by the self-professed Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) and piquant Cynthia Rose (Ester Dean). On the Troublemakers side is star attraction Bumper, imbued with a certain legendary status by Adam DeVine.
It would also be remiss not to mention the joke-making commentators throughout the competition as Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games) and John Michael Higgins take advantage of their lines. A somewhat obvious and cheesy Pitch Perfect isn't about to fully measure up to its title, but knows through how to keep the hits registering well in todays i-Tunes hysteria.

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