After two college set Pitch Perfect movies, we return to the musical world of the Barden Bellas for their swansong, as they grapple with the realities of life after university: unsatisfying jobs, broken relationships, pregnancy, Amy Winehouse tribute acts… it’s a mixed bag for the former acapella superstars. When the opportunity comes for them to join the USO tour for one last hurrah (and maybe win the opportunity to open for DJ Khaled’s show) they jump at the chance to sing together again and relive their former glory.
But of course nothing comes easily for the Bellas and they are up against other music acts who are aca-sceptics and aca-doubters who use real instruments (gasp) and don’t appreciate their aca-talents. There’s also the added complication of the surprise appearance of John Lithgow as Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson’s) dodgy, estranged criminal father (and Lithgow looks like he’s having an excellent time hamming it up).
The Bellas are the strength of the movie once more, and are great fun; at this point you feel like you know them (apart from Jessica and Ashley of course) and the script plays up to what the audience expect and warm to about the characters. Anna Kendrick steadies the ship and drops the dry one liners, Anna Camp is manic and highly strung, Brittany Snow is charming as she continually yearns for her Bella glory days and Hailee Steinfeld is just adorable. But this is really Rebel Wilson’s film; she is ridiculous, hilarious and incredibly watchable.
Then there’s Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins, the acerbic and consistently hysterical commentators of the Bellas’ story. They have been highlights of this series from the start, and are so again.
My main criticism here though is that I missed Bumper (Adam Devine). The screen time for the Treblemakers has been reducing film by film and in this movie there’s no appearances from Skylar Astin or Ben Platt either. It’s terrific that the film is entirely carried by this extremely talented group of women, but I missed Bumper and Fat Amy together. It seems a shame that we don’t get to see Bumper meet Amy’s dad, too.
I remember when I saw the last High School Musical film and I felt quite sad at the end for all of the lesser known cast as I was worried they’d never work in a project of that ilk again. I felt a bit like that at the end of Pitch Perfect 3. Your Kendricks and your Wilsons are already stars in their own right (thanks in large part to these films) but it feels unlikely that another acapella based film series will come around again for the rest of the Bellas.
If you were a fan of the first two instalments then Pitch Perfect 3 has you covered, though – it is a satisfying end to a very fun set of films. It may all be a bit predictable but you get a fun time, Craig from Hollyoaks playing a music executive and John Lithgow.. As I left the cinema a girl behind said, “they definitely could do another one”. Perhaps not, though. Perhaps it’s right that the Bellas leave us wanting just a little bit more.