We open the third and final installment in the Pitch Perfect franchise “somewhere in the South of France,” where the ever familiar Barden Bellas are performing a characteristically charming a capella rendition of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ on a yacht for a group of unhumorous businessman.
All of a sudden, amidst the ridiculously in sync choreography, fan favorite and internet meme influencer Fat Amy bursts through a glass ceiling and ushers the group off the yacht into the ocean, as the boat explodes behind them in a Bond-like sequence. We are thus introduced to the narrative of Pitch Perfect 3; where everything is bigger, flashier, higher stakes, but really more of the same.
Fans of the series shouldn’t be left disappointed by the final chapter. The film does echo the second installment’s sentiments of the post-college slump and struggling to find a place in society outside of your university a cappella group, and it also offers the same dry humor that helped catapult the series in the first place, along with some self-aware zingers that should help audiences excuse any narrative missteps.
In this era of the series the Bellas are all found in unsatisfying jobs that leave them yearning for the days where their biggest problem was winning a cappella competitions. When the chance arises for the girls to reunite on an overseas USO tour, they’re all more than ready to jet set.
Performance wise, every ‘Bella’ played up to their characters quirks to the fullest to go out with a bang. Anna Kendrick still shines as the awkward lead ‘Becca,’ though viewers will find that the character is significantly less cynical this time around. Rebel Wilson does her best with what’s she’s given as Fat Amy, so while her character’s material isn’t quite what it once was, the Aussie wisecracker should still bring some laughs. There are plenty of newly introduced characters, but none with storylines that are fleshed out enough to make and impact. Orange is the New Black alum Ruby Rose plays the lead vocalist of a rival group on the USO tour, but the rivalry isn’t necessarily convincing enough to concern viewers. Other new characters include a couple of love interests, but their interactions are made to be a bit forgettable. The story for the Bellas picks up in the second half of the film, and with that comes a sort of unfortunate abandonment of the new characters until the last five minutes of the film.
In true Pitch Perfect fashion, where the film truly shines is in its musical numbers. While they don’t always narratively make the most sense, it’s always enjoyable to watch flawless a capella versions of your favorite songs, and they never cause a dull moment.
All in all Pitch Perfect 3 served as an appropriate finish to a fun series. It left no room for viewers to inquire what was next for the characters, which is a mistake many series make when they aren’t completely confident in the decision to wrap everything up. Fans won’t be left disappointed, and if you’re looking for a bit of mindless, high energy fun, Pitch Perfect 3 should fulfill just that.
Pitch Perfect 3 hits theaters December 22.