Courtesy of Universal Pictures
I highly doubt the big wigs over at Universal ever thought they’d have an acapella franchise when they made “Pitch Perfect”. I actually really liked the first film, and even found enjoyment in “Pitch Perfect 2” (mainly due to the appealing and talented cast). But any of that fresh and lively energy that existed in the previous installments has been drastically forgotten in “Pitch Perfect 3,” a miserable excuse for a sequel, and film. The main issue is, unlike its predecessors, there aren’t any new ideas worth exploring with the Barden Bellas. The movie is just a retread belt of what made the other sequels popular: singing competitions, riff-offs, bad auto tune, and poppy songs. For an extent, it was viable before due to the chemistry and the characters seemed to be having fun. Here, when the Bella’s can’t seem to quit, and go on a farewell tour (because, why not?) - you just scratch your head in confusion. They’re constantly striving to relive their glory years to get away from their boring day jobs.
The plot is just as derivative and thin as it gets: An international tour for our army troops overseas, finds the Bellas in some stiff waters, competing for a spot as the opening act in DJ Khaled's upcoming concert series (Khaled is so bad in this film, it constantly looks like he’s just reciting lines.) But they have to contend with a - (wait for it) - group that calls themselves “Ever Moist” and a country singing ragtime squad that should never be on the same stage as Khaled. Ever. Aside from the normal tier of 20 minute riff offs with sendups of Britney Spears “Toxic,” or “Cake by the Ocean,” the film introduces Fat Amy’s - (Rebel Wilson, returning in her signature role that falls flat in every category here) - father figure, played by John Lithgow, to the mix as a slimy, greasy bad guy. The last twenty minutes then takes a detour into espionage hostage thriller territory and it couldn’t be executed more poorly.
Anna Kendrick’s Beca is front and center again, slowly developing a relationship with one of Khaled’s producers (it doesn’t go anywhere) as does a subplot with Brittany Snow’s Chloe and her soldier boy bodyguard Chicago (Matt Lanter) that takes one scene to set up and then completely forgets it ever existed. And then we have series regulars Gail and John (Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins) dropping such zingers as “we’re going to stick to you like a mother and her cameltoe. ” And Lithgow phones in his performance in one of the worst developed characters on screen this year.
At a certain point, one of the main characters mentions how they need to have more dignity with themselves and I couldn’t help but chuckle. Now here was a movie that would have benefited from its own message. I suppose it’s a good thing this was the “farewell tour” because this series is coasting on fumes, and now has lost all potential. Instead of ending on a high note, “Pitch Perfect 3” goes out with a whimper. You can aca-skip this one. D-