Get ready Pitches! The Barden Bellas are back in the rocking finale to the Pitch Perfect trilogy. The girls have moved in different directions since college and their monumental win at the World Championships but their adult lives aren’t quite living up to expectations. When they’re given the opportunity to put the real world on hiatus and get back together for a tour of military bases throughout Europe, they jump at the chance. Even better, it comes with the possibility for a record deal with producer DJ Khaled. It’s not just a gig, it’s a competition! The Bella’s have their chance to strut, sing and shine on the stage again!
As the only acapella group in the tour and being given their spot through nepotism, the Bella’s are the underdogs once again. They have to prove their worth against bands with real instruments, including the talented female ensemble Ever Moist led by the poised punk princess Calamity (Ruby Rose). While the rivalry starts strong with a good old fashioned riff off, it rapidly dies out as it becomes clear the old rules don’t work anymore. It’s a wake up call for the girls who have to learn that there’s life after the Bellas.
This time around the story is less focused on romance and more on the character’s personal growth, career endeavours and their family relationships. One of the main story arcs revolves around Amy’s long absent father – played hilariously by John Lithgow sporting a strong Australian accent – returning to her life. This gives us a chance to learn more about Amy’s background and explains some of her character. Some people may be disappointed that there’s no Buster or Jesse in this final chapter, but I appreciated the writers taking a risk and telling a different kind of story. It’s so rare to have an all female ensemble comedy, much less one without romance as a main theme.
In keeping with the previous two movies, the humour in Pitch Perfect 3 is on point! It starts a little slow but as the cast comes together, their chemistry and playful banter will soon bring a smile to your face. The humour in these movies has always been a little risque with a lot of it coming from over the top stereotypes that the girls encompass. Aubrey is an neurotic perfectionist with daddy issues, Fat Amy is outspoken and overly confident, Stacie is the promiscuous one and so on. Some of jokes around racial stereotypes such as Lilly the quiet Asian, or Flo the Guatemalan immigrant feel like a guilty giggle, but the portrayals are so overt and silly that I feel they’re more about laughing at the absurdity of the stereotype itself than any attempt to reinforce them.
The musical numbers are enjoyable but for me they never reached the heights of Pitch Perfect 2. As someone who bought and listened to the soundtrack for the second movie many times, I just couldn’t see myself doing the same with this latest instalment. Likewise, the choreography during the performances is a little underwhelming. This was a bit disappointing but it was something I noted in retrospect rather than it distracting from the movie. There’s so many amazing scenes that while I was watching the movie I never felt the absence of more grandiose musical numbers. Without giving spoilers, I will say that Amy executes choreography of a different and wholly unexpected kind that will have you internally fist pumping and cheering wildly.
Pitch Perfect 3 is a powerful, hilarious and at times, touching conclusion to the trilogy. The characters are endearing despite their oddities and their chemistry and affection for each other is captivating. While the musical numbers don’t reach the heights of their predecessors, the movie excels in other ways and is engaging and fun throughout. If you’re a fan of the series, I’m sure you’ll love the finale and find it a worthy send off for the Bellas.