When it’s done right, there’s nothing so miraculous as the sound of human voices blending into a creamy swirl of color, with neither the help nor the distraction of musical accompaniment. Pitch Perfect banks on that magic — the purely human wizardry of a cappella singing — though it also attempts to be several other things: a mild gross-out comedy, a paean to the awkward early stages of new love, a Mean Girls-style riff on campus hierarchies. That may be too much for one modest comedy to carry, but one thing’s for sure: Pitch Perfect doesn’t skimp on the singing.
Anna Kendrick stars as Beca, a newly matriculated student at fictional Barden University. Beca is supposedly a misfit — we’re clued in by her multiple ear piercings, her ambition to be a DJ or a record producer, and her smattering of tattoos — and she’s still smarting over her parents’ divorce, which means she’s prickly toward her professor dad (John Benjamin Hickey) and her fellow students alike.
But in addition to having a killer knack for mixing beats, Beca can sing beautifully. And somehow, despite her initial lack of enthusiasm, she’s recruited to try out for one of the school’s singing groups, the Barden Bellas, a prissy bunch of girls who are actually ruthless warriors when it comes to a cappella singing competitions.