PITCH PERFECT REVIEW (GRADE: B+)
Frequently laugh-out-loud funny, with terrific music and colorful characters, Pitch Perfect is justified in its status as this fall's surprise hit, even if it is hindered by a mostly predictable plot and an over-reliance on vulgar humor (see content overview below). Anna Kendrick (Twilight) displays nice range (vocal and comedic) as an aspiring DJ/freshman college student who joins a struggling all-female a cappella group. That a widely diverse mix of personalities will bicker as egos clash, then learn to pull together and do something original and fresh will be foreseen by anyone who's seen the ads for the film (or Sister Act 2), but the actors are all having fun, the romance is sweet and not too forced, and again, the music rocks. (Want a second opinion? Check out Mormon Media Reviews take here).
CONTENT OVERVIEW- Pitch Perfect is rated PG-13, its quality weakened by an unending parade of jokes about promiscuity, arousal, intercourse, anatomy, homosexuality, STD's, rape, and more, with vulgar language about the same. A “riff-off” finds acappella groups trying to out-sing one another using songs about sex. It also has fairly consistent moderate profanity and scenes of vomiting, for those who are bothered by that.
MESSAGES TO DISCUSS- When we try to gratify our pride, satisfy our vain ambition, and/or attempt to control others, we miss out on genuine inspiration (D&C 121:37). Music magnifies joy and chases away sorrow (Isaiah 35:10). “Who am I to judge another, when I walk imperfectly? In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see” (Lord, I Would Follow Thee, Hymns #220).
Some criticized 2008's The Dark Knight for being too dark in tone, its villain too sadistic, its intensity too unrelenting, and its sense of despair too overwhelming. I thought, as I've noted elsewhere, that all of that served a purpose, building to a powerful third act that portrayed humanity's potential for selflessness, honor, and morality in the face of unrelenting evil. Still, take The Dark Knight and subtract its uplifting message about human nature, its brilliant screenplay and direction, and the relief offered by its admittedly dark humor, leaving only violence and tragedy, and you'll have a film like Alex Cross, a joyless, oppressive, and morally murky exercise in cat-and-mouse detective games.