And here we go. The supposed final installment to this a cappella trilogy. Yeah, let’s wait until the box office numbers come in and then we’ll see about the finality of this franchise.
My reviews for the first two films can be read here (PITCH PERFECT  and PITCH PERFECT 2 ), but summed up, I don’t think these movies are very good. Well, the first film introduced me to a cappella, and what’s presented was actually really fun to watch. In fact, the a cappella is what ultimately saves the movies. They’re enjoyable, the women are talented, it’s a lot of fun. However, I think the neither stories, nor the characters are interesting and the comedy is hit and miss, so I never expect those to be good, but the a cappella is admittedly an addiction and something I enjoy listening to.
This movie doesn’t look like it’s going to be different, outside of a random exploding boat. The Bellas get together for one final competition to support the troops, except they’re up against an actual band who thinks they’re better than the Bellas- seriously, villains in these movies? – and… that’s about it.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Anna Kendrick (TABLE 19 , PARANORMAN , UP IN THE AIR , and upcoming films A SIMPLE FAVOR  and NOELLE ), Rebel Wilson (ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE , BRIDESMAIDS , GHOST RIDER , and upcoming films NASTY WOMEN  and ISN’T IT ROMANTIC ), Brittany Snow (PROM NIGHT , THE PACIFIER , and 3 episodes of TV show CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND [2015 – ongoing]), Anna Camp (CAFÉ SOCIETY , THE HELP , TV show TRUE BLOOD [2008 – 2014], and the upcoming EGG ), and Hailee Steinfeld (THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN , ENDER’S GAME , TRUE GRIT , and the upcoming BUMBLEBEE ). In support, we have Elizabeth Banks (POWER RANGERS , THE HUNGER GAMES , SLITHER , and the upcoming THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS ), John Michael Higgins (ALMOST CHRISTMAS , WE BOUGHT A ZOO , TV show HAPPILY DIVORCED [2011 – 2013], and upcoming films SCOOBY-DOO & BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD  and STATUS UPDATE ), John Lithgow (DADDY’S HOME 2 , INTERSTELLAR , and SHREK ), Matt Lanter (STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS , DISASTER MOVIE , and TV show STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS [2008 – 2015]), and Guy Burnet (MORTDECAI ).
Now for the crew. The director is Trish Sie, known for STEP UP ALL IN (2014). Co-writing the screenplay are Kay Cannon (TV shows: 6 episodes of GIRLBOSS , 4 episodes of NEW GIRL [2011 – ongoing], and 12 episodes of 30 ROCK [2006 – 2013]) and Mike White (BRAD’S STATUS , BEATRIZ AT DINNER , SCHOOL OF ROCK , and the upcoming THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN ). Composing the score is Christopher Lennertz, known for BAD MOM’S X-MAS (2017), HORRIBLE BOSSES (2011), video game MASS EFFECT 3 (2012), and upcoming TV revival LOST IN SPACE (2018) and video game SCALEBOUND (2017). The cinematographer is Matthew Clark, known for MIKE AND DAVE (2016), THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE (2013), 4 episodes of TV show UP ALL NIGHT (2011 – 2012), and the upcoming SET IT UP (2018). Finally, co-editing are Craig Alpert (ROUGH NIGHT , YES MAN , KNOCKED UP , and the upcoming DEADPOOL 2 ) and Colin Patton (OUR BRAND IS CRISIS  and 4 episodes of TV show THE GOOD PLACE [2016 – ongoing]).
Overall, I’m not expecting a good story, but I’m hoping that there’s enough a cappella to keep me entertained.
This is my honest opinion of: PITCH PERFECT 3
The Bellas have moved on from college and are trying to make it in the workforce, but each having their own problems. When Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) invites her former partners to one of her performances with the New Bellas, the former teammates pine for their glory days, when suddenly, Aubrey (Anna Camp) decides to sign up the team for one last singing competition to support the troops, to which everyone agrees as their final hurrah together.
It’s pretty bad. In fact, I can’t tell if I think this film is on par with the first, or if I like it less. I dislike both for different reasons.
I disliked the first movie because it had two scenes of projectile vomiting, which is a one of my top three comedic no-nos. To boot, it wasn’t funny, with the notable exception of Wilson, of all people. The only thing that truly saved it was how cool the a cappella was and how talented the women were. Full disclosure, I want the soundtracks to that and the second film. But this… by God… how does a movie about an a cappella group jump a shark?! Yes, this movie jumps the shark by incorporating a gangster kidnapping subplot, complete with slow-mo explosions. What the actual f**k?! I don’t remember if this was something that Amy mentioned in the previous films, but apparently, she ran away from home because her dad was a “bad man.” Yup, as it turns out, he’s some kind of gangster. And… now that I’m thinking about it, nothing about him makes a lick of sense. He’s back in Amy’s life seemingly because he’s turned over a new leaf and is a changed man. No shit, it’s a lie, and what he’s really after is a crap ton of money that Amy never knew she had. Well, okay, this sort of makes him sound like he’s a gambling-addicted ass, not a gangster, right? Well when Amy says no to him, he literally kidnaps the Bellas via luring them into a van, putting that van on a boat, hauling it to a yacht. His yacht, no less! He has hired help, and a yacht! If he was in need of cash, he’s could have gotten rid of his henchmen and sold his yacht! Just… wow. And to make matters worse, none of this is remotely necessary to the story. You could literally cut out this entire part of the movie and missed nothing. The events prior don’t lean into it very smoothly, and the events that transpire don’t impact the characters when it’s all resolved. So… what was the point in everything?! Hell, Aubrey’s got an absentee father issue that is literally resolved when the credits start rolling.
But never mind that, this movie is almost completely devoid of good humor. Whatever laughs the movie gets out of me, it’s because the humor is so bad that I couldn’t help but snicker. To make matters even worse, the a cappella isn’t very memorable. The very thing that kept me coming back to these movies is the one thing that is the least memorable and impactful. In the first two films, yeah, I can’t claim to be a fan of the songs themselves from the original artists, but at least they were songs I was semi-familiar with and given pleasant-sounding a cappella spins to them that made me want to pick up the soundtracks. But here, I’m not familiar with ninety-percent of the songs and they weren’t sung in a way that made them stand out. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not sung poorly, but they’re not sung with that Pitch Perfect oomph that I’ve come to rely on.
Also, there’s a bit of false advertising. In the trailers, or at least the one that I saw, the movie basically shows off a rival competing band, Ever Moist, headed by Calamity (Ruby Rose). Here’s the thing, they’re the rivals for one single solitary riff-off. Beyond that, the Bellas and Ever Moist barely interact a second time. In a way, I should be grateful, as I never truly saw the point of having a villain in this movie anyway, especially considering that these women just want to sing together one last time before moving on to the next stages of their lives, but this movie hints at this rivalry so hardcore, one has to wonder why include the possibility if it was never going to be delivered in the end. It’s just wasted time and a contrived way to have their signature riff-off. And for the record, for a band that got a thunderous applause and deafening screams when their time ended on stage, their song was unbelievably generic for a rock song. Those must have been some pretty bored military to be cheering for Ever Moist.
Amy was an annoying character this time, probably the most annoying she’s been all franchise long, there’s a forced romance between Chloe (Brittany Snow) and cartoon Anakin Skywalker- no seriously, Chicago is played by Matt Lanter who voices Anakin in the Clone Wars movie and TV show – and I think there was an implied romance between Beca and Theo (Guy Burnet) that goes nowhere, it’s just a whole lot of nothing or bizarre something. Oh, and Lithgow’s awful Australian accent… just… ew.
*Sigh* But is there anything that made me not hate this movie? Well, I guess to start, I don’t actually hate it. Much as I complain, the movie is just… stupid. Having said that, the actors do seem like they’re trying. Both Kendrick and Steinfeld, despite having flat and uninteresting characters, are not devoid of charisma and likability. And… ugh, that’s honestly it. There’s really not much else to this movie.
The ultimate problem with the Pitch Perfect films has always been the writing. Had the jokes been well-written and the characters more defined, then we could have had something, especially given the set-up. I mean, the Bellas traveling overseas to perform to show support for the troops? That could have been engaging, and if the story kept from having a political agenda, as showing the military support doesn’t put you in any political faction, then there could have been something there. There was no need for missing father subplots, just have it be that the Bellas perform and have Aubrey’s father show up at an appropriate time to make the emotions effective. And keep the focus on the women and their relationships. Emily had a great line (or at least, great for this movie) when she said, “Can we just forget about winning and just sing together? That’s why we’re here, isn’t it?” But then the movie says, “Nah, we really need to win.” Screw you too, movie. For a brief microsecond, I saw what this could have been. It could have been moving, charming, an emotional send off. But no, it’s more of the same, but done worse.
In retrospect, if the movies weren’t going to get any better, then it’s best that the franchise end. This is a particular shame because I do really like a cappella. And really, if these movies were given quality writers to work on them, who understood good humor and proper character development then there’d be no reason for the franchise to end. Just take time to come up with good story arcs, polish out the story, and the franchise could continue, either with the previous cast, or a new batch. But as it stands, this film is a huge letdown. The writing is bad, the characters are dull, and the a cappella is forgettable. While it’s not the worst movie in the world, it’s not the worst movie I’ve seen, but it’s not good. Fans of the franchise may still like it, but I can’t really give this a recommendation. Rental at best, but even if you skipped this altogether, you wouldn’t miss too much. This last call is anything but perfectly pitched.
My honest rating for PITCH PERFECT 3: 2/5