Pitch Perfect 3
Directed by Trish Sie
Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, John Lithgow
It’s a relatively fond farewell for the Barton Bellas, now just the graduated-and-doing-middling-jobs Bellas.
Who knows for sure if “Pitch Perfect 3” is the final installment of the a cappella comedy franchise, though it should be? Whatever the case, this is a fine capper on the story.
As we rejoin them, the Bellas are now out in the world, doing post-collegiate work including training to be a vet or a pilot or busking in Times Square as “Fat Amy Winehouse” (Rebel Wilson, professional scene stealer).
Beca (Anna Kendrick), the de facto leader of the group, is a music producer, fed up with her job trying to make a pretty gross “musician” named Pimp-Lo (Moises Arias) sound presentable. She doesn’t last long in that job, and pretty soon there’s a Bellas reunion and they’re off playing in a USO tour produced by DJ Khaled (playing himself). At the end of the tour, Khaled is going to pick one of the groups to open for him, so the competition is fierce.
The film — with a screenplay co-written by Kay Cannon, who did the first two movies, and Mike White — is more or less built around a battle between the Bellas and bands that, gasp, play instruments. Then there’s an out-of-left-field action movie subplot, complete with explosions, about Fat Amy’s father, a criminal who has come back into her life (played by the great John Lithgow with an Aussie accent).
But most of this is just an excuse to get the women singing, which has always been the highlight of the films. Standout performances here include Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and The Cranberries’ “Zombie.” The traditional riff-off gets an added boost by the other bands, who bring a new energy to the performances. However, Ruby Rose, a standout on “Orange is the New Black,” is wasted as a gruff rocker in a plot point that fades away to nothing.
“Pitch Perfect 2” fizzled with a nonsensical storyline. This second sequel manages not to have much of a storyline at all. But the singing performances are fun and frequent and Rebel Wilson is flat out aca-larious.