Universal via Everett Collection
Plenty of singers try their hand at acting… some successfully (Cher, Barbara Streisand) and others not so successfully (Madonna, Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, etc.). There are times, though, when we're bowled over by the musical talents of our favorite actresses.
Whether it's voicing an animated heroine or taking an unexpected role in a big budget musical, these actresses have proven that they have the pipes to belt out a tune while still delivering top-notch acting performances.
When many people saw the credits for Disney's Frozen, they assumed that Bell was just providing the speaking part for Anna, that surely it was someone else singing on "Love Is an Open Door." Even some hardcore Veronica Mars fans had lost sight of the fact that Bell came from a musical theater background or forgot about her appearance in Refer Madness: The Musical.
So, a lot of people find Hathaway pretentious and annoying… it doesn't change the fact that the girl can sing. Audiences were surprised when her character started singing in one of her early films, Ella Enchanted, but by the time of Les Miserables, we were all aware that she had the ability. Still, her powerful rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" surprised just about everyone.
When Seyfried was first starting out in Mean Girls, we thought she was just another soap opera actress (she appeared on As the World Turns and All My Children) making a jump to the big time… which she subsequently did with her role on HBO's Big Love. Little known to the public, she had training in not only musical theater, but opera. It wasn't until 2008's Mamma Mia! that audiences got a taste of her singing… and then came her performance as Cosette in Les Miserables. C'est magnifique!
Stone doesn't sing much because of some vocal cord issues, but when she was younger she was part of VH1's In Search of the New Partridge Family. She also did some backing vocals for the remake of The Waitresses' "I Know What Boys Like" from The House Bunny. It was her performance during the school assembly scene of Easy A,where she rocked the disco classic "Knock on Wood," that left audiences wondering if it was really her voice. It was indeed, and she was spectacular.
For years, Streep was known as the premier actress of her generation, though not as a performer with any musical ability. Starting with 2006's Prairie Home Companion, however, Streep has been unafraid to put her voice out for public consumption. She looked like she was having a blast playing the lead in Mamma Mia! opposite Seyfried and will soon be back on the big screen playing the Witch in the film adaption of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods.
Despite starting her career doing Broadway musicals as a girl, the new "It" singing actress first came to notice with largely non-musical roles in Twilight and Up in the Air (although we did get a glimpse with her karaoke version of "Time After Time"). It wasn't until she killed as the reluctant a capella participant in Pitch Perfect that audiences fell in love with her voice. The actresses even scored a hit single with her version of "Cups (When I'm Gone)" from the soundtrack. With roles in Into the Woods and Pitch Perfect 2, we'll get plenty of opportunities to continue enjoying her vocal talent.
Her work with M. Ward on their She & Him projects have turned Deschanel into a legitimate recording artist, but she's still better known for her acting in movies like (500) Days of Summer and her TV show New Girl. Every Christmas the actress pops up in one of her earlier film roles as Will Ferrell's love interest in Elf singing holiday classics and she's set to appear in Barry Levinson's musical comedy Rock the Kasbah.
Adams may be a five-time Academy Award nominee and might turn heads on the red carpet with her plunging necklines, but she knows her way around a song as well. The actress made a believable live-action Disney princess in Enchanted, including taking center stage during the big production number "That's How You Know." She apparently likes to sing in kiddie fare, because her other big on-screen musical moments mostly happened with Jason Segel, Kermit and Miss Piggy in The Muppets.
Paltrow's mother, Blythe Danner, started her film career in the musical 1776 and she has an uncle that's an opera singer, so she comes by her vocal abilities honestly. After making her on-screen singing debut in Emma, she starred in her father Bruce Paltrow's Duets, where her collaboration with Huey Lewis on Smokey Robinson's "Cruisin'" spawned an adult contemporary hit. Besides having a recurring spot on TV's Glee, Paltrow also got her twang on in Country Strong.
Universal via Everett Collection
Somewhere inside of Pitch Perfect there exists the movie it wants to be. Buried beneath the scathing send-ups of the dreamer genre, there are actual dreamers. Ones we're charged to root for — after all, we are hinged to their story about "making it to regionals," or whatever — but that we can't. Because the film itself refuses to do so. At once, it's a celebration of the socially disbarred and a satire of all the sugar-coated entertainment that has been devoted to it... okay, mostly Glee. And while this marriage isn't necessarily doomed, too often does Pitch Perfect find itself torn between asking us to root for its heroes and asking us to laugh at its victims (the same people). We can't say for sure whether something was lost in translation from script to screen, or of Kay Cannon's original screenplay was laden with the troubles we find on the screen, but we're hoping that the upcoming sequel's new director, actress Elizabeth Banks, can figure out her animal better than first installment helmer Jason Moore could.
In order to do so, she'll have to know when the movie need to stop laughing at these people. And here's a good indicator: if it is laughing at them for being fat or gay, you've probably taken a wrong turn.
The film offers glimpses of its potential — loner Anna Kendrick identifying Brittany Snow's shared familiarity with David Guetta's "Titanium" as awe-inspiring (one of the film's better attempts at tackling a genre staple) — but undoes its own mission when it turns the trope battering in on its characters. Pitch Perfect sets up its underdog a capella clique as a group of eccentrics with whom we're supposed to relate: genuine talents unappreciated due to weight, race, sexual orientation, and a laundry list of personality defects. But just when you think the movie is on their side, it jumps right on in, poking fun at Rebel Wilson's character for her size and Ester Dean's for her homosexuality. And one might spout the defense, "But these girls are making fun of themselves!" Well, that's the problem. They think they have to.
Wilson's breakout character goes by "Fat Amy," underlining her self-assigned moniker with the rationale, "So twig b**ches like you [she's talking to Anna Camp] don't do it behind my back." Therein lies the film's defeat. It thinks that these girls have no shot at dignity, so they have to succumb to self-parody. This is not simply embracing a sense of humor about yourself (a valuable characteristic) but becoming the joke that everybody says you are because you don't see any other choice. And Pitch Perfect doesn't just limit this fate to "Fat Amy," but to its excessively marginalized gay character, Cynthia Rose (Dean).
Universal via Everett Collection
The joke about Dean? The same joke that has been assigned to gay characters since before the days of Three's Company, and that still, by some grace of ungodly ignorance, works its way into network television and blockbuster cinema today. Her sexual orientation is her punchline. For the length of Pitch Perfect, we're offered "hints" that Cynthia Rose is attracted to women — the way she dresses and carries herself are brandished as lesbian stereotypes, and we even get a scene of her groping fellow a capella band member Stacie (Alexis Knapp) for good measure. And then, finally, concrete evidence: "When I broke up with my girlfriend..." followed by a de facto rimshot from Rebel Wilson.
Of course, Pitch Perfect was a hit, and this is owed to a very simple, very convenient allowance made by its story: the singing. Yes, these girls can sing. And when they get up on that stage at the end of the film and belt their heroic ballads, it's as if the film is saying, "See? We were behind them all along!" But giving stars like Wilson and Rose solos doesn't retroactively make Pitch Perfect's mean-spirited attitude about their identities "good natured ribbing." We were still asked to look at Fat Amy as a fat girl first, swelling with laughter at her inability to run, her propensity for falling down, and — most riotous of all — the inscrutable idea that she might consider herself sexy. You can endorse this material all you like with defenses that Fat Amy and Wilson herself were on board with the gags, but the simple fact that the one overweight young woman in this movie feels no other course than to dominate her screen time with fat jokes is unforgivable. Some would call it wise advice to garnish an embarrassing faux-pas with some self-effacing humor; this is not how heavy people should made to be felt about the way they look.
In earnest, there's optimism attached to Banks' ascension into the director's chair. Although she has never handled a feature on her own, her comic sensibilities as an actress, and as a woman, might be more conducive to a little bit of respect for the young ladies at the center of this story. We can hope, anyway — with a wealth of talent in stars like Kendrick, Wilson, Dean, Camp, Snow, and the rest, and in a writer like Cannon, there's too much good to let the end product wind up so misguided.
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Husband and wife Jay-Z and Beyonce will go head-to-head at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards for the title of Best Summer Tour. Beyonce (The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour) will compete against Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake (Legends of the Summer Tour), Bruno Mars (The Moonshine Jungle Tour), One Direction (Take Me Home Tour) and Taylor Swift (Red Tour 2013) for the coveted prize at the special ceremony in Los Angeles on 11 August (13).
Mars' Treasure also landed the singer a mention for Choice Summer Song - a category in which he'll compete with Miley Cyrus (We Can't Stop), Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams (Get Lucky), Florida Georgia Line and Nelly (Cruise - Remix), and Robin Thicke, T.I. and Williams (Blurred Lines).
In the acting categories, former real-life couple Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2) were nominated for Choice Movie: Liplock, alongside Amy Adams and Henry Cavill (Man of Steel), Skylar Astin and Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect), Logan Lerman and Emma Watson (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), and Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures).
Meanwhile, Taylor Lautner (Grown Ups 2) will fight for Choice Movie: Hissy Fight with Channing Tatum (White House Down), Steve Carell (Despicable Me 2), Melissa McCarthy (The Heat), and Anna Camp, Hana Mae Lee, Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect).
Choice Summer Movie: Action will be a toss up between Man of Steel, Fast & Furious 6, Pacific Rim, White House Down, and World War Z, and Despicable Me 2, Grown Ups 2, Monsters University, The Heat, and The Internship will compete for Choice Summer Movie: Comedy .
The full list of nominations was released on Tuesday (16Jul13), over a month after the first wave of nominations were announced in May (13).
Superheroes Iron Man, the Black Widow, Thor, The Hulk and Captain America were the big winners at the MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday (14Apr13), landing three honours for Marvel's The Avengers. The cast of the film picked up the Movie of the Year and the Best Fight trophies, while Tom Hiddleston was named Best Villain for his role as warmonger Loki.
It was also a great night for Bradley Cooper and ceremony host Rebel Wilson, who were double winners - Cooper claimed the Best Male Performance award for his role in Silver Linings Playbook and also took home the Best Kiss honour for his smooch with co-star Jennifer Lawrence, while Australian comedienne Wilson scored the Breakthrough Performance prize for Pitch Perfect and she also joined the cast of the film to pick up the Best Musical Moment award.
The full list of winners is:
Best Male Performance - Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
Best Female Performance - Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Best WTF Moment - Jamie Foxx & Samuel L. Jackson (for the explosive Django Unchained climax)
Best Fight - Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner vs. Tom Hiddleston in Marvel's The Avengers
Best On-screen duo - Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane as Ted (Ted)
Best Kiss - Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
Breakthrough Performance - Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect)
Best Shirtless Performance - Taylor Lautner (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II)
Best Villain - Tom Hiddleston (Marvel's The Avengers)
Best Musical Moment - Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean and Hana Mae Lee (Pitch Perfect)
Best Scared-as-s**t Performance - Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi)
Movie of the Year - Marvel's The Avengers
Best Hero - Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)
Generation Award - Jamie Foxx
Trailblazer Award - Emma Watson
Comedic Genius Award - Will Ferrell
As far as awards shows go, the MTV Movie Awards are about as unpredictable as they come. From their array of unexpected hosts to nominating a variety of movies, you can never quite guess which stars and movies will walk away with the coveted golden popcorn trophy. The 2013 Rebel Wilson-emceed (the funny lady is a nominee herself for her performance in the hit comedy Pitch Perfect) MTV Movie Awards should be no exception, from nominees like Django Unchained to Jennifer Lawrence to The Dark Knight Rises to Channing Tatum to Ted.
Hollywood.com will be watching all the action while it happens and updating you with all the winners as the wacky, wild night unfolds. Check out the complete list of nominees and winners — in every category from Movie of the Year to Scared as S**t Performance — here:
Movie of the YearDjango UnchainedSilver Linings PlaybookTedWINNER: Marvel's The AvengersThe Dark Knight Rises
Best Female PerformanceAnne Hathaway — Les MisérablesMila Kunis — TedWINNER: Jennifer Lawrence — Silver Linings PlaybookEmma Watson — The Perks of Being a WallflowerRebel Wilson — Pitch Perfect
Best Male PerformanceBen Affleck — ArgoWINNER: Bradley Cooper — Silver Linings PlaybookDaniel Day-Lewis — LincolnJamie Foxx — Django UnchainedChanning Tatum — Magic Mike
Breakthrough PerformanceEzra Miller — The Perks of Being a WallflowerEddie Redmayne — Les MisérablesSuraj Sharma — Life of PiQuvenzhané Wallis — Beasts of the Southern WildWINNER: Rebel Wilson — Pitch Perfect
Best Scared As S**t PerformanceJessica Chastain — Zero Dark ThirtyAlexandra Daddario — Texas Chainsaw 3DMartin Freeman — The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyJennifer Lawrence — House at the End of the StreetWINNER: Suraj Sharma — Life of Pi
Best On-Screen DuoLeonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson — Django UnchainedBradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence — Silver Linings PlaybookWINNER: Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane — TedRobert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo — Marvel's The AvengersWill Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis — The Campaign
Best Shirtless PerformanceChristian Bale — The Dark Knight RisesDaniel Craig — SkyfallWINNER: Taylor Lautner — The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2Seth MacFarlane — TedChanning Tatum — Magic Mike
Best FightJamie Foxx vs. Candieland Henchmen — Django UnchainedDaniel Craig vs. Ola Rapace — SkyfallMark Wahlberg vs. Seth MacFarlane — TedWINNER: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner vs. Tom Hiddleston — Marvel's The AvengersChristian Bale vs. Tom Hardy — The Dark Knight Rises
Best Kiss Kerry Washington and Jamie Foxx — Django UnchainedKara Hayward and Jared Gilman — Moonrise KingdomWINNER: Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper — Silver Linings PlaybookMila Kunis and Mark Wahlberg — TedEmma Watson and Logan Lerman — The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Best WTF MomentWINNER: Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson — Django UnchainedDenzel Washington — FlightAnna Camp — Pitch PerfectJavier Bardem — SkyfallSeth MacFarlane — Ted
Best VillainJavier Bardem — SkyfallLeonardo DiCaprio — Django UnchainedMarion Cotillard — The Dark Knight RisesTom Hardy — The Dark Knight RisesWINNER: Tom Hiddleston — Marvel's The Avengers
Best HeroWINNER: Martin Freeman — The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyKristen Stewart — Snow White And The Huntsman
Best Musical MomentAnne Hathaway — Les MisérablesChanning Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash and Adam Rodriguez — Magic MikeWINNER: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean and Hana Mae Lee — Pitch PerfectBradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence — Silver Linings PlaybookEmma Watson, Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller — The Perks of Being a Wallflower
2013 Trailblazer AwardEmma Watson
Comedic Genius AwardWill Ferrell
2013 Generation AwardJamie Foxx
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Finally, Channing Tatum's torso gets its due: After getting snubbed all award season long, the genius (and abs) of Magic Mike managed to garner three separate nominations for the 2013 MTV Movie Awards. While the list of nominees includes plenty of expected names (America's BFF Jennifer Lawrence, America's annoying theater kid Anne Hathaway, America's hot dad Ben Affleck), it also includes several fan-favorite selections that weren't quite Oscar-worthy (Perks of Being a Wallflower, Pitch Perfect).
Leading the honors with seven nominations each are Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and Seth MacFarlane’s Ted, followed by Silver Linings Playbook with six nominations and The Dark Knight Rises with five. Rounding out the most-nominated films are The Avengers, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Pitch Perfect, and Skyfall with four each. Check out the full list of nominations below:
MOVIE OF THE YEARDjango UnchainedSilver Linings PlaybookTEDThe AvengersThe Dark Knight Rises
BEST FEMALE PERFORMANCEAnne Hathaway – Les MisérablesMila Kunis – TEDJennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings PlaybookEmma Watson – The Perks of Being a WallflowerRebel Wilson – Pitch Perfect
BEST MALE PERFORMANCEBen Affleck – ArgoBradley Cooper – Silver Linings PlaybookDaniel Day-Lewis – LincolnJamie Foxx – Django UnchainedChanning Tatum – Magic Mike
BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCEEzra Miller – The Perks of Being a WallflowerEddie Redmayne - Les MisérablesSuraj Sharma – Life of PiQuvenzhané Wallis – Beasts of the Southern WildRebel Wilson – Pitch Perfect
BEST SCARED-AS-S**T PERFORMANCEJessica Chastain – Zero Dark ThirtyAlexandra Daddario – Texas Chainsaw 3DMartin Freeman – The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyJennifer Lawrence – House at the End of the StreetSuraj Sharma – Life of Pi
BEST ON-SCREEN DUOLeonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson – Django UnchainedBradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings PlaybookMark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane as Ted – TedRobert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo – The AvengersWill Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis – The Campaign
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BEST SHIRTLESS PERFORMANCEChristian Bale – The Dark Knight RisesDaniel Craig – SkyfallTaylor Lautner – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2Seth MacFarlane as Ted – TedChanning Tatum – Magic Mike
BEST FIGHTJamie Foxx vs. Candieland Henchmen – Django UnchainedDaniel Craig vs. Ola Rapace – SkyfallMark Wahlberg vs. Seth MacFarlane as Ted – TedRobert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner vs. Tom Hiddleston – The AvengersChristian Bale vs. Tom Hardy – The Dark Knight Rises
BEST KISSKerry Washington and Jamie Foxx – Django UnchainedKara Hayward and Jared Gilman – Moonrise KingdomJennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings PlaybookMila Kunis and Mark Wahlberg – TedEmma Watson and Logan Lerman – The Perks of Being a Wallflower
BEST WTF MOMENTJamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson – “Candieland Gets Smoked” in Django UnchainedDenzel Washington – “Final Descent” in FlightAnna Camp – “Hack-Appella” in Pitch PerfectJavier Bardem – “Oops… There Goes His Face” in SkyfallSeth MacFarlane as Ted – “Ted Gets Saucy” in Ted
BEST VILLAINJavier Bardem – SkyfallLeonardo DiCaprio – Django UnchainedMarion Cotillard – The Dark Knight RisesTom Hardy – The Dark Knight RisesTom Hiddleston – The Avengers
BEST MUSICAL MOMENTAnne Hathaway – Les MisérablesChanning Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash and Adam Rodriguez – Magic MikeAnna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean and Hana Mae Lee – Pitch PerfectBradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings PlaybookEmma Watson, Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller – The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Voting for all categories began today and continues through Saturday, April 13, at MovieAwards.MTV.com.
Rebel Wilson, nominated for “Best Female Performance” and “Breakthrough Performance” as Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect, will host and be joined by MTV’s Inaugural “Comedic Genius Award” recipient Will Ferrell, who is nominated for “Best On-Screen Duo” with Zach Galifianakis for The Campaign.
The 2013 MTV Movie Awards will air live on Sunday, April 14 at 9 PM ET on MTV.
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[Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company]
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All right Gleeks, we need to talk. Let’s reminisce together for a moment.
Remember way back when in season two when we got our first glimpse of the Dalton Academy Warblers? We saw a sea of navy blue and crimson suits swaying back and forth while Darren Criss, adorable smile and all, sang a beautiful musically-stripped down version of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” Every girl and their gay best friend flooded the Internet with their “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” of admiration for this thing called a cappella and we’ll admit we too were thrilled by its resurgence as the new cool trend.
Although a cappella, is far from being considered “new,” there is something awe-inspiring about music that requires no instruments or synthesizers, only the sounds that can be naturally created through our mouths. So imagine our genuine squeals of excitement when we learned that there is a new movie out that has linked the unique skills of a cappella singing with a group of highly relatable (and not to mention attractive) new characters.
Pitch Perfect combines the underdog essence of Glee, the high stakes spirit of Bring It On, the snarky yet quotable-ness of Mean Girls and the 80’s-loving nostalgia that Easy A was built upon. Basically the musical geniuses who created Pitch Perfect have grabbed bits and pieces from our favorite DVD-worthy movies and remixed them into a refreshingly harmonious new flick.
From the hilarious audition scene, the new staple in practically every teen movie, to Torrance Shipmans’s cheer-tastic inspired "aca"-isms, (i.e. Aca-cuse me? Hands in aca-bitches! Aca-awkward…) Pitch Perfect creates a flawless big-screen option for the millions of Glee lovers out there. This movie not only acknowledges our guilty pleasures, it encourages them! Case in point: When the Bellas, aka the musical heroines of the film, sing Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” you can't help but smile. We can thank the summer of 2009 for bringing forth the song that is so bad it almost hurts, yet every one knows it’s nearly impossible not to belt out those oh-so catchy lyrics when we’re driving alone in our cars.
For those of you that are still holding an aca-grudge and are worried that this movie is trying to steal Glee’s thunder, by all means please read on. This movie is not Glee. However, it does celebrate all the quirky and fun characteristics that have made the FOX show a mega-hit over the past three years. Pitch Perfect contains an entire season’s worth of the excitement surrounding sectionals, regionals and nationals, but neatly jam-packs the drama into 112 minutes. The soundtrack features a perfect blend of top 40 hits with a few well-placed gems from the 80’s and 90’s sprinkled throughout. In addition, the film showcases 7 brilliant mashups, a musical feat that all Glee fans can appreciate and enjoy.
Gleeks will come to the theaters for the concept but they’ll stay and smile because of the characters. But not to worry, there are no McKinley copy-cats in this cinematic adventure. We can assure you that you won’t be sitting in the theater thinking to yourself, “Oh there’s Kurt…I guess she’s the “New Rachel”… And seriously that girl is acting just like Brittany!” Instead you will find a healthy blend of grounded yet charismatic college students who have banded together in hopes of being the best. Yes, that does sound a little Glee-esque, but the characters are much more complicated then that.
The movie centers on Beca (Anna Kendrick) an edgy, and slightly snarky aspiring deejay who would much rather be scrumming it in Los Angeles than getting a free-ride to the college where her dad teaches. After being forced to partake in an extracurricular activity, Becca decides that joining the Barden Bellas, an all-girl a cappella group, is the lesser of many evils.
The Bellas feature a typical ragtag group of gals who, after a rough start, come together to be sensational. Gleeks, think The Troubletones but with a college twist. (Oh yeah, it’s that good!) Every one of the Bellas has their little something that makes her special. Chloe (Brittany Snow) is the keeper of the peace, Stacie (Alexis Napp) is the sex-crazed E! enthusiast, Lilly (Hana Mae Lee) is the soft-spoken psycho, Cynthia Rose (Ester Dean) is the girl who likes girls, and leading the pack is the tyrannical Aubrey (Anna Camp) who should really take the phrase “say it, don’t spray it” more seriously. Oh and who could forget Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson)? The self-proclaimed best singer in Tasmania who enjoys mermaid dancing, bikini carwashes and stealing the spotlight.
Leading the Bella’s cross-campus rivals, The Treblemakers, is Bumper (Adam Devine) a highly sarcastic, self-obsessed, burrito thrower and Jesse (Sklar Astin) the swoon-worthy new addition to the group who is down to earth and oozes loveable yet dorky charm. Oh and in case you were ever wondering what happened to Superbad’s McLovin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) in his college years, this movie has the hilarious answer. When the two groups go head-to-head multiple times through-out the film, many Lima lovers will wish the New Directions would have more interaction with their rivals because the result is side-clutching, can’t catch your breath laughter. All in all, Pitch Perfect is a wonderful celebration of music and is pure movie-going pleasure. Curious viewers can consider this new insta-classic to be in the same key as Glee, but keep in mind Pitch Perfect is strumming on a completely separate, yet equally delightful chord.
Pitch Perfect opens in select theaters Friday, September 28 and everywhere else October 5.
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[Photo Credit: Universal]
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It is my estimation that there are very few people on the fence about seeing a movie about the universe of college a capella. The people who want to see this movie would all but kill to do so — on the other hand there are those who’d rather endure a three-hour documentary on the referendum to criminalize the distribution of lead-based paints. I was hardly in the latter category upon approaching Pitch Perfect. I wholeheartedly enjoyed the seasonal performances of my college’s championship-winning a capella group the Binghamton Crosbys (namedrop). I would happily welcome an influx of musical films to mainstream Hollywood. I really really liked the first season of Glee. I say all this to illustrate how open to the idea of Pitch Perfect I was and how much I really wanted to like the movie. Unfortunately as I would reluctantly acknowledge not long into the picture Pitch Perfect was missing many of its marks. Not all but many.
The movie touts itself not as Glee: The Movie as many on the opposing side are likely to deem it but as something far more self-aware. There are a handful of jokes about the rigid containment of the a capella world’s celebrity with remarks that all the authentically cool kids at the central Barden University exist beyond the confines of the a capella community. Unfortunately while it strives to adopt a self-deprecating attitude toward the tropes of the genre it draws the line at the rejection of the more hackneyed elements of its romantic and interpersonal storylines.
While the story is based in the always-worth-revisiting “be yourself” underdog theme it doesn’t quite execute this idea with full force. The highly talented Anna Kendrick plays Beca a “rebellious” aspiring deejay enticed into the nearly defunct Barden Bellas by well-meaning vet Chloe (Brittany Snow) due to her natural skill for singing but disliked by queen bee Aubrey (Anna Camp) for being just a little too different. But in all honesty she’s hardly different enough to evoke our sympathies. In fact the only outstanding characteristics Beca seems to have is that she’s pretty self-entitled and always a little bit miffed. Still she’s the apple of everyone's eye including the guileless flimsy male lead Jesse (Skylar Astin) who himself is a cherished new member of Barden's rival a capella group the all-male Treblemakers — led by the wickedly obnoxious top dog Bumper (Adam DeVine). Beca and Jesse are meant to found the real emotional crust of the movie; he teaches her about the greats of cinematic soundtracks and about not pushing people away and she... well she doesn't really teach him about anything. Their relationship lacks the real substance that would effectively carry the film based primarily on the fact that they're both cute and microscopically off-center.
And then there are the supporting characters — the Bellas' team of misfits whom we're meant to love. Rebel Wilson leads this pack as the kooky brazen self-decreed Fat Amy. Beside her the sexually-charged Stacie (Alexis Knapp) the quiet psychopath Lilly (Hana Mae Lee) and Cynthia Rose (Ester Dean) whose alluded homosexuality is quite unfortunately the punchline of her character among a few faceless sub-supporting characters. And while the theme does don a sheath of the classic “be yourself” mindset it seems to be more interested in poking fun of these girls and their quirks than it is in celebrating them.
But they do band together they do develop a camaraderie and they do come to compromise their differences in order to better one another and the team. And then comes the final musical number.
See for all of the film's faults there is something it knows how to do: it puts on one hell of a show. As much of a cynical nitpicker as you might be once the Bellas' final performance on the competition mainstage takes way you're bound to enjoy it. Showcasing the individual vocal talents of each of the (primary) singers sewn together in an expertly crafted compilation piece viewers are likely to get a chill or two. This is where Pitch Perfect hits: in its sheer unembarrassed celebration of a capella of music in general and of the girls onscreen. The movie makes the mistake of trying to have it both ways. When it goes for self-deprecation it makes it look all the more unaware of its inherent flaws in plot and character. But in being what plenty of people would be just fine with — an a capella movie that isn't ashamed of loving a capella any more than its over-the-top characters are — it succeeds. Unfortunately this sentiment feels limited to the final performance of the film. But to its credit it's a performance good enough to make up for a whole lot of the stuff that leads up to it.