When Beca’s father drops her off at Barden University, she already knows that she hates it. She doesn’t want to waste her time studying when she could be getting her foot in the door in the music industry in Los Angeles. After she starts skipping classes to mix music in her room instead, her father makes her a deal: if she gets involved in the college by joining a group and still wants to leave after the year ends, then he’ll personally pay for her to move to California.
Beca reluctantly joins the Barden Bellas, a disgraced a cappella group run by the uptight Aubrey and populated by an unusual band of misfits, like the silent Lilly and a girl named Fat Amy (played with hilarious aplomb by Rebel Wilson). While Aubrey and Beca clash, Beca also begins spending more time with Jesse, a member of the Treblemakers, the rival singing group. The rest follows the standard Bring It On template—fights, misunderstandings, the Team That Must Innovate to Win, a big enjoyable finale—but the template was done well and with enough great writing and acting for it to feel fresh and genuine.
Pitch Perfect was a solid A minus for me. I could have used more depth in Beca’s relationship with her father, and the majority of the characters never move beyond two dimensions, but in the post-Twilight movie world, those are really small quibbles. Beca is the kind of sarcastic but brilliant heroine the anti-Bella-Swan types will love, and Jesse is the earnest, kind and likable love interest that we need more of. Language and gross-out humor may make this a better watch for those 16 or 17 and older, but other than that, I’m shelving this next to Easy A on my Movies-All-Teenage-Girls-Should-Watch shelf.