TL;DR
  • Just awful
  • Ridiculous, boring story stuffed with silly side-stories in a failed attempt to engage the audience and not let them realise they’ve run out of ideas
  • Music from the other bands only emphasise the annoying noise coming from the main characters
  • The dance choreography is good, but sadly the editing doesn’t allow us to enjoy it
  • Anna Kendrick is likeable as ever, but is playing the same character she always does
  • Hailee Steinfeld needs to go back to how she was in True Grit
  • Rebel Wilson is truly awful – crass, unfunny and annoying; an insult to comedy

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Pitch Perfect 3 was not my choice of film to go and see; and if there’s ever a fourth, yet again I won’t choose to see that one either. Sadly though, despite protests, attempts at compromise and pleas that I hadn’t seen the others so it wouldn’t make sense, I was dragged, kicking and screaming, into Screen 4 and told to be quiet and enjoy it. Enjoy it I did not, but at the very least I did stay quiet… quieter than one should be in a comedy, without a single laugh emanating from my cringing face. I can only pray I won’t be dragged to a mess like this again. Unfunny, embarrassing and incoherent, it baffles me that any film of this calibre can make it to a trilogy.

With their fond time singing in The Bellas behind them, the group of friends try and build their careers and lives; be it running a coffee stand or performing as Fat Amy Winehouse (a very distasteful joke considering she’s not alive to laugh with us…). The presumably main character Beca (Anna Kendrick) in particular can’t stand her job as music producer, and so, conveniently just as she quits, she and her cohorts, including Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), Chloe (Brittany Snow), Aubrey (Anna Camp) and Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) among all the others, trot off to enter a competition in Europe, naturally with reporters Gail (Elizabeth Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins) in tow. Soon however they realise they aren’t the only group of people able to hold a tune and start to worry about their chances. While they battle to win, Beca catches the eye of DJ Khaled’s (apparently a real person!) music producer (Guy Burnet) and Fat Amy finds a surprise in John Lithgow’s Fergus…

The story is absolutely incoherent and not engaging in the slightest. It’s more akin to an X-Factor documentary than a musical film. Giving up on their careers for a competition isn’t the sort of message Hollywood should be giving to millennials struggling to get to grips with adulthood and heading to Europe is the most cliched move they could have done – naturally every American franchise heads to Europe as soon as they run out of ideas. The competition itself means very little to the overall plot, with the writers having to shove in plot lines like Beca’s romance and Amy’s daddy issues to fatten up an otherwise depressingly thin and unengaging plot. Though it may be strange that the most boring story is the central one that the film revolves around, the really sad irony is that the side-stories are in fact the more interesting parts of the film. It’s as though this film can’t decide what genre it is or even what story it should be telling. This results in the film being even more infuriating.

‘Perhaps the music can save it,’ I hoped. Sadly, unless you like subpar cover groups, this is unlikely to be the case. It’s problematic when other groups are more talented and entertaining than the central one you’re supposed to care about. If you were ever unsure about a cappella, this will not make you a fan. At times you’d be forgiven for thinking they sounded like an Alvin and the Chipmunks tribute band instead. At the very least the dancing is choreographed and performed well, allowing the dancing to be the best element to the movie – it’s just disappointing the editing can’t allow the camera to pause on one shot long enough to let us appreciate it.

On the right – an uncanny impression of my face watching this film

It’s recently been said that modern American comedies are not what they used to be; this film is simple proof to back up that claim. The characters should be charming, funny and enjoyable to spend time with. As it happens, the cast of The Bellas are a strange bunch, but not in that charming, quirky way so many coming-of-age teen movies are. They’re not particularly endearing, although at least they do work well together and come across as good friends – largely in the way they speak over each other, constantly cheer each other on, have group hugs… This can’t fail to make you in the audience feel like an outsider, not welcome to join in and be part of The Bellas. Not that this is a bad thing; with a group of characters who are so similar, ditzy and brainless, I think I’d rather spend an hour and a half with one of the other groups. The main spokespeople for The Bellas is mainly confined to three main characters; namely Anna Kendrick’s Beca, Hailee Steinfeld’s Emily and Rebel Wilson’s Fat Amy. I’m still confident that Anna Kendrick has the ability to broaden her range of characters – she’s been playing the same sort of person for years. Still, despite her wasted potential in this film, she’s fortunately likeable nevertheless and it’s a relief that she’s the central character as opposed to one of the others. Similarly, Hailee Steinfeld showed excellent promise years back when she got an Oscar nomination for her role in True Grit. How the mighty have fallen; it’s noticeable that no other Oscar nominations have come her way since. If she were to distance herself from films like this and apply her likeable personality and brilliant talent, she’d be fighting the awards off with a golden stick. Sadly the third main character we see far too much of is Rebel Wilson. How she seems to be moderately successful I’ll never understand. The polar opposite to Kendrick and Steinfeld, Wilson’s not at all likeable, nor is she anywhere near as funny as her character was intended to be. With desperate, pathetic jokes and crass humour which shows an utter lack of wit, I can only hope that her lines were improvised and not written; such an embarrassment couldn’t fail to end the careers of the writers (assuming there were any writers, I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t). The only saving grace in terms of comedy are Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins. Although not all their jokes hit the mark, their lines are the only sections of the film that bare any resemblance to comedy and they really do deserve more.

Without seeing the previous two I can’t comment on them, but I’m sure they can’t possibly be worse than this. Perhaps one of the worst films I’ve seen in a while. It makes other disappointments in 2017 seem wonderful in comparison. Good dance choreography and occasional enjoyable music, can’t save a film drowning in irritating noise from The Bellas, an incoherent central story consistently distracted by side-plots, ditzy and annoying characters talking nonsense over each other and unfunny, crass and embarrassing attempts at comedy that fall flat on their face, with most of them coming from one character in particularPitch Perfect 3 is so far from ‘perfect’, I can only hope that a fourth will never come to pass.

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