Pitch Perfect 3 movie review: Curse of the threequel strikes this finale, which ends on deflated note
Pitch Perfect 3 feels like the moment when a usually funny guy tells you the same joke for the third time, and when you don’t laugh he begins stripping his clothes off and hooting wildly just to get a reaction from you.
The first Pitch Perfect was a total blast, with foot tapping songs, a winningly original plot, uniformly likable characters and dollops of genuine comedy. The second film was more predictable but still had a couple of very entertaining sequences to necessitate a recommendation. The third one, which is out in theaters today, is where you roll your eyes and look towards the exit door.
Pitch Perfect 3 feels like the moment when a usually funny guy tells you the same joke for the third time, and when you don’t laugh he begins stripping his clothes off and hooting wildly just to get a reaction from you. Call it the curse of the threequel, or an obvious cash grab, this is an aca-irritating finale that ends on a deflated note.
Even though it’s usually a negative, this time one wishes the plot were more of the same — because what we get here is something wildly, inappropriately different. A few years after graduation, the Bellas are now working professionals and quite unhappy in life. They’re invited to a reunion which seems fun at the onset but even that turns out to be a damp squib. Things take a turn when they land an opportunity to perform for US troops in the hope of getting a chance to jam with DJ Khaled, but they somehow land up in a convoluted plan by a Bond villain-type master criminal on a boat.
The shift in tone from good-natured college comedy to a Hangover 2-style globe trotting adventure destroys the heart and soul the series had painstakingly built, paving the way for a painfully cynical money-making product of a movie. The differentiating factor that director Trish Sie offers us is that the girls end up in exotic European locations, but if that element corresponded to quality then Sex and the City 2 would have been a masterpiece. The villain in question is played by John Lithgow who offers his second terrible dad performance after Daddy’s Home 2. The character’s master plan is neither scary nor subversively funny, it’s just an excuse for everyone associated with the film to have a nice holiday in Europe and make a film while they’re at it.
Sure, the songs are fun and the way they are performed makes for a nice mix tape, and even the final performance is passably enjoyable — but it doesn’t warrant a trip to the theater. With each subsequent film, the series is moving further towards a streamable quality and there’s no doubt that we’ll see a couple of more movies down the road — with the leading role torch probably passed from Anna Kendrick to Hailee Steinfeld. Everyone else in the film is a stereotype anyway — Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) is still fat and silly, Chloe (Brittany Snow) is still looking for the perfect guy, and Aubrey (Anna Camp) is still the privileged white girl. All of them are disposable and replaceable. Much like the Hangover sequels, this film tarnishes the memory of the original, and in a dangerous way, in that it makes you loathe the once relatable characters in the film.
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