Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, John Lithgow, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Hailee Steinfeld, Elizabeth Banks, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee
Director: Trish Sie
“Pitch Perfect 3” reunites the crazy group of female á cappella singers in another bizarre adventure yarn. It may appeal to die-hard fans this holiday season but, for others like me, it was one long yawn.
The third instalment of this seemingly popular franchise is desperately short on fresh ideas, but happily goes about the task of emphasising the joys of female friendship. It also fails to continue with the complex conversation which was started by its predecessors about the power of women’s collective voices and the ways in which the world tries to silence them.
The new offering reveals how the best-laid plans after college can go awry and how the girls decide on getting together for one last performance. They have not entered another á cappella competition this time around, but rather engage in a battle of the bands on an overseas U.S.O. tour. Each group is trying to impress DJ Khaled and be chosen to open for him at the tour’s final stop. It’s a premise that conspicuously exists for the Bellas to remind viewers that women are at their strongest when working together towards a common goal.
The stakes are so low here that the film resorts to crudely wedge in an unnecessary sub-plot involving the enormously irritating Rebel Wilson (as Fat Amy) being shaken by the sudden appearance of her long-absent father, played by an unshaven John Lithgow, saddled with an awful Australian accent. Amy believes that he’s finally ready to be a part of her life, but it turns out that he’s actually trying to steal the contents of her trust fund, which she hadn’t realized has ballooned into millions of dollars. The Lithgow character kidnaps the other Bellas and holds them hostage on his yacht, Fat Amy and Beca (Anna Kendrick) are forced to sneak on board and rescue them in a set piece that involves cross-cutting between Britney Spears’ Toxic and Fat Amy building a bomb below deck.
Another gratuitous scene takes place at a casino in Spain involving Becca who inadvertently burns down the plush hotel suite of the DJ whom she wants to impress. These sequences are silliness in the extreme and reflect overall the film’s dubious tones.