Pitch Perfect 3 (2017)

The Pitch Perfect movies are comfort movies for me. They’re the type of films that, after a long day, you put them on and relax, knowing that the awesome music and hilarious jokes will be there for you to enjoy. The first movie is one of my most rewatched, and while the second one isn’t quite on its level, I still very much enjoy it. Now it’s time for the (planned) final performance for the Bellas with Pitch Perfect 3, and it’s sad to see them go. It’s probably about time, mind you, but sad nonetheless.

The film takes place after almost all of the main characters have graduated from college. Most of them are working dead-end jobs, not living the glamorous lives they had planned for themselves. When an opportunity arises to perform on am overseas USO tour for the troops, they jump at it. There, they compete against a trio of other bands, get into some crazy situations, and make lots of jokes while hanging out together one final time. A few characters get subplots, a couple of others do nothing of consequence, and we all have a good time listening to the music and laughing at the jokes. Just like old times.

Really, what are you expecting at this point? You’ve seen two of these movies—this is another one that fits in perfectly but otherwise doesn’t do much to differentiate itself, save for a preposterous final few scenes. Groups fight with each other, individuals within groups squabble briefly before making up, Beca (Anna Kendrick) gets singled out as the most talented one, songs are sung, jokes are made, and I realize at this point I’ve basically repeated the last paragraph in this one, but I’m including it in for the meta-laughs anyway.

This one does have a couple of meta jokes, by the way (as do the other films), and if you think the last paragraph was a way to segue into a reference to the film’s meta jokes, as well as a way to kill time, you’re right! Mostly because the film is pretty much devoid of any new material to talk about or anything to gripe about or especially praise. It’s a Pitch Perfect movie. At this point, you’re either on board or you’re not.

If you liked the previous two Pitch Perfect movies, you will like the third one.

I will say that I don’t think the music is, overall, as good as it’s been in the past. There are a couple of standout performances—”Toxic” and “Cheap Thrills”—but it seemed like the music took a step back. That’s especially true in its second half, when the music (and the competition) takes a step back for the various subplots—the most significant of which involves Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) being tracked down by her estranged father (John Lithgow).

The film has been directed by Trish Sie, a music video director who made her feature debut with a Step Up movie (All In, if you care). As can be expected, the musical scenes are a technical highlight. They’re filmed with lots of energy and vibrancy. That isn’t to say that the rest of the film is poorly directed or anything. It fits in nicely with the rest of the entries in the series.

I guess, if Pitch Perfect 3 has a problem, it’s a lack of purpose. Does it need to exist? No. Does its characters have much of a journey to go on? Not really. Is it an excuse to sell more tickets and make more money on its profitable brand name. Yeah, probably. It’s pretty shallow and doesn’t do much for us; it’s the most disposable film of the series, and it’s beginning to show franchise fatigue. Does that make it bad, though? Nope. I still really enjoyed it. I’m excited to marathon the trilogy once this one hits home video. But if you’re just hoping to spend another couple of hours with characters you’ve enjoyed watching and listening to for a couple of movies, you’ll have a good time with this one.

If you liked the previous two Pitch Perfect movies, you will like the third one, which is little more than an excuse to get these characters back together to sing some songs and tell some jokes. If that’s enough for you, have at it. If it’s not, well, it’s not. I enjoyed it. The music is good and the jokes are funny. And it concludes these characters’ stories well enough that you should be able to accept that this is the end for them. That’s really all I wanted.

Conclusion: Pitch Perfect 3 has good music and solid humor. What more do you want?

Recommendation: You like the first two Pitch Perfect movies? You’ll like this one. You don’t? You won’t. Simple.

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