A little less than ‘Perfect’
“Picture Perfect 3”
By Jason Wiese
It is safe to say that 2017 has been a year of divisive cinema. We saw the debate over whether or not Ridley Scott should continue on with the Alien franchise after Covenant. We continued to quarrel over the question if DC should just give up trying to live up to Marvel after Justice League. And, just in the past week, we have witness the most intense rebellion of a good portion of the fanbase for the most powerful franchise in the galaxy following the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
But, I can proudly say that I had my mind made up over those films pretty quickly. Yet, no film to come out this year has left me with such crippling inner conflict like the final(?) installment of the most popular franchise of all time involving a capella: Pitch Perfect 3.
Most of the Barden Bellas are far past graduation and discontent with adulthood. Beca Mitchell (Anna Kendrick, always wearing a face that says, “I am enjoying myself, but I am eager to move on with her career”) has quit her job as a music consultant. Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson, still the best part of the franchise) is unemployed and revels in mooching off of Beca, her roommate. Chloe (Brittany Snow) wants to be a veterinarian, but still cannot keep down her desire to sing with the Bellas again. But, things seem to be going well for Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), who is still in college and has joined a new a capella group, immediately making the former Bellas jealous.
Completely out of the blue, Aubrey (Anna Camp) finds the perfect opportunity to get the gang back together for one last tour, a USO Tour to entertain the troupes to be exact. Her distant military father manages to book the Bellas a spot on an overseas tour to multiple military bases, that also happens to be a competition to get a record deal with DJ Khaled (Khaled plays himself). On this journey, the Bellas face the pressure of fellow touring artists who use instruments and pointless, inconsequential subplots as they rediscover the joy of singing and learn how to move on to the next chapter of their lives.
Being the third and (possibly) final installment in a little franchise that could, Pitch Perfect 3 wants to be the ultimate Pitch Perfect film. By that, it, apparently, wants to be the most star-studded, ludicrously plot-busy, action-packed and thoroughly ridiculous installment yet. By that standard, the film is a booming success, which is exactly what fuels the conflict in me.
Are the musical numbers entertaining? Of course. Does the humor deliver? Most of the time. As far as a Pitch Perfect movie goes, that is really all you need. But, it is impossible to overlook when the jokes fall flat, when the subplots go nowhere and the central characters appear surprisingly bland for two movies worth of development. Not to mention my belief that someone probably should have told John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks to sit this one out. The rude, snarky behind-the-curtain commentators bit is just hopelessly tired now.
However, did I have a good time? Yes, I did and for a film like this as a sequel to a sequel to a film that I really admire, that was really I needed it from. It is nothing I would care to seek a second viewing of, but, for the right audience, it is definitely worth a recommendation. It is nice to have you back again, Bellas, but I am also happy to see you move on…