Director: Jason Moore
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, John Michael Higgins, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Camp, Skylar Astin.
Written by: Kay Cannon and (book) Mickey Rapkin.
Running Time: 112 mins
Release date: 21st December 2012
A few years ago, a US TV show stormed the network and the world and became flavour of the month. That show was Glee, a tale of a High School singing group that many regarded as the Fame of the 21st Century. Personally I tried to like it but it’s annoying characters and even more annoying choice of songs made we almost vomit at the mere mention of the show’s name. So when I heard that a film about acapella singing was hitting the screens, my heart sank and I genuinely had cold sweats about seeing it. I shouldn’t have worried. This urinates on Glee from a great height.
Beca is a freshman at Baden University. A loner who spends her time making mixes of music and dreaming of being a DJ, she is forced to join The Bellas, an all-female acapella group who have been stuck in the past for years and have been the laughing stock of the singing fraternity after one of the members struggled to hold down their food during a performance. Being bullied by the all-conquering, all-male champions Backbeats, they must find a way to escape the embarrassment of the past year and shine in the National Championships. Beca, however, has started to form a relationship with a fellow singer from their rival group.
This could have quite easily got away and become just another cheesy, crass teen flick that would be instantly forgettable, possibly ending up in the dungeons of direct-to-DVD hell. In the hands of Tony award winning director, Jason Moore, the man responsible for the original production of Avenue Q, this is a hilariously funny film that manages to mix the cheese with winning performances, good song choices and the best fun to have in a cinema for a while.
Anna Kendrick, who has been playing second fiddle in most of the films she has appeared, from Twilight to the brilliant Up In The Air (where she held her own against George Clooney), is given the lead role of Beca and a good job she does too. Playing the straight role, you like being in her company as she doesn’t ham things up and she compliments the rest of the talented cast. Brittany Snow and Anna Camp are very good as the leaders of the group and, what I thought was good, is that the love interest, Skylar Astin, isn’t your usual, handsome yet brainless leading man. He looks, well, ordinary.
The real comic strengths come from four angles. As the commentators, John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks has some terrific lines. Yes, we’ve seen commentators like this before (see Best In Show for the best representation) but they are cracking, bouncing off each other with funny line after quotable funny line.
The girls in the group all have well developed characters by Hana Mae Lee as Lilly is a genius comic creation. I won’t give it away but be prepared to choke on your drink the moment she opens her mouth. The other big star of the film, in more ways than one, is Rebel Wilson. Playing the role of Fat Amy, she commands every scene she is in. After making a big impact in Bridesmaid in such a small role, here she really puts her mark as a potential star of the future. She has near perfect comic timing and she delivers every line with great aplomb.
Yes, there are moments of gross-out humour and the cheese comes thick and fast but this surely deserves to mentioned in the same breathe as other great teen comedies, Clueless, Mean Girls and 10 Things I Hate About You. And what’s more, there’s not a single note of Don’t Stop Believing!