Pardon my tardiness in catching up with the Barden Bellas one last time. I strongly suspected that these “pitches” had run out of ideas with “Pitch Perfect,” and “Pitch Perfect 2” pretty much confirmed it.
But here it is, “Pitch Perfect 3,” a few more not-exactly a cappella renditions of pop classics from George Michael to Pink, songs they keep singing even when they’re singing Shut Up and Dance.”
A few more “Fat Amy” jokes, told mostly by Rebel “Fat Amy” Wilson herself. Her character’s graduated from Barden U. and is pushing a one-woman show, “Fat Amy Winehouse.” She leaves her “Make America Eat Again” hat out of the costume, alas.
There’s more of the silent comedy of Hana Mae Lee, thend scary-strange and exotic Asian in the multi-cultural 10-member Bellas.
Brittany Snow and Anna Camp treat us to a handful of fresh “We’ll never have it as good as we had it in college,” takes, remembering when they were “famous,” at least to those two commentating clowns (Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins) who have worked their way down the media food chain to making a self-financed Youtube documentary about “Where are they now?”
“We’re gonna CLING to you like mom-jeans on a camel toe!”
And there’s more of Anna Kendrick, sweet-voiced lead singer Beca, who gets much of the attention and all of the breaks, but has too much “integrity” to keep producing no-talent poseurs like Pimp-lo (Moises Arias), so she quits.
“Pitch 3” is a movie as predictable as the big explosion and escape that opens the picture, as the lame script-crutch “Three Weeks Earlier” flashback, as the assorted “love interests” cooked up for this installment, as trite as Fat Amy’s description of how she became estranged from her “dodgy” crook of a father.
“I had to run away, which was a real bitch…because of the chafing!”
But that “father” turns out to be John Lithgow, who sings a little Chicago (the band, not the musical) and does it in an Australian accent. Because — Hugh Jackman, and fair is fair…dinkum. He’s a semi-bright spot in a movie we’ve seen before, cuter and fresher and five years ago.
The twist this time is that the long-graduated Bellas are frustrated with their large animal veterinary aid, juice truck, flight-school flunking real lives, and more than thrilled to dive into a European USO tour, entertaining the troops and feuding with the other bands on the bill, especially the skinner and can-actually-play-instruments all-female quartet, EverMoist.
Ruby Rose (“Orange is the New Black”) is their skinny/scary lead singer.
That nothing here is new isn’t a fatal failing. That nothing here is funny, is.
Wilson has run out of variations on her girth jokes, even though the script tries to find ways Fat Amy can surprise us.
Even taking into account that I’m not its target audience, I was pleasantly surprised by the first film in this trilogy. This? It’s piffle.
Whatever these “Pitches” have done for Kendrick’s singing ambitions, in the movies she’s the perky straight-man, the one who sees hilarity all around her. It’s not a good use of her talents.
As for the rest of the film, if you’ve seen one leggy, twerky, over-choreographed, polished and auto-tuned cover of Sia’s “Cheap Thrills,” you’ve seen enough.
MPAA Rating:PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language and some action.
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, Hailee Steinfeld, John Lithgow
Credits:Directed by Trish Sie, script by Kay Cannon and Mike White. A Universal release.
Running time: 1:33