PITCH PERFECT

A movie whose title is its own review. Feel-good has seldom felt better — especially during the many songs that always seem to stop too soon. The story is set in college, but the dynamics are more high school: cliques, acceptance, young love, raging hormones (and bowels). The girl meets-loses-gets-back-boy plot is as well worn as an old sneaker, and you know from the start that the martinet leader of the Bellas a cappella group will get her comeuppance and have to turn to heroine Anna Kendrick for guidance. All that takes a back seat to the music. Even thrown away riffs such as the rival boy ensemble’s on-campus work-up of Dazz Band’s “Let It Whip” will tap your toes. And when the two arch-competitors gather on the street at night for a Sharks/Jets-style in-your-face “top this” contest, PP hits its highest notes. Kendrick’s romance with the adorkable Skylar Astin is witty, even touching, and the side players are so well-cast it’s a shame we don’t get to spend more time with all of them. (Indeed, to accommodate a plot point bringing nerdy charmer Ben Platt [his first credit!] into the story, the screenplay writes out the even more capable Jon Gosselin look-alike Adam DeVine, who kills as the arrogant leader of the reigning champions.) A restless camera brings the excitement of performance itself to the on-stage numbers. I just wish it hadn’t ended so abruptly; I wanted everyone to go on singing. — Jeff Schultz

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