Movies often look for TV for inspiration, whether we’re talking remakes or spin-offs.
Pitch Perfect is neither - but this all-singing, all-dancing college-bound musical comedy clearly owes a hefty debt to overwrought TV dramedy Glee.
That’s not a huge surprise, considering its creators: director Jason Moore has helmed more than a handful of primetime soapers (Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill, Everwood), and writer Kay Cannon’s day gig is 30 Rock.
So, it not only looks like Glee, it’s paced like Glee, and if you could smell it, it would reek of whatever Glee smells like...
That’s really the only bad news, though.
The good news is, it’s much funnier and meaner than the show that influenced it; and if you squint a little, it’s basically an all-girl remake of Revenge Of The Nerds.
Real-life Tony winner Anna Kendrick toplines as a snippy, eye-rolling wannabe record producer who joins a hapless all-girl a cappella group at her college.
Their ragtag crew includes a pushy alpha-blonde (Anna Camp), an Asian serial killer (maybe), a black lesbian and ‘Fat Amy’ (Bridesmaids’ irrepressible Rebel Wilson, who steals every scene she’s in).
They are, naturally, the underdogs, and through your standard young adult struggles, they learn to work together and become a crackerjack force of vocal fury, as evidenced by the furious (for an a cappella competition, anyway), Bring It On-esque finale.
Although it takes fitful stabs at social relevance and tearjerkery, at heart Pitch Perfect is teenage wish-fulfilment candy floss, with no nutritional value to speak of.
Still, it’s wrapped in a shiny, eye-pleasing package, and unlike its increasingly cloying forebear Glee, almost impossible to hate. Ironically, given its title, the film’s tone often wobbles uneasily between heartfelt and snarky but, overall, it’s a satisfying, and occasionally even fist-pumping, tribute to the enduring spirit of misfits and weirdos.
Gleeks and Glee-haters alike should rally around this raucous musical comedy. Rebel Wilson is hilarious, Anna Kendrick is terrific and there are as many gross-out gags as there are singing numbers.