The Barden Bellas are back for a third (and possibly final) time in Pitch Perfect 3, and they’re as wacky, feisty, and competitive as ever. But while long-time pitches will likely love the movie as much as Fat Amy loves the spotlight, others might struggle to find something that the first two Pitch Perfect films haven’t already tackled.
In Pitch Perfect 3, Beca (Anna Kendrick), Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), Chloe (Brittany Snow) and their former a cappella sisters admit that they’re down on their luck and dying to sing together again when they reunite to watch Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) perform with the current crop of Bellas. Aubrey (Anna Camp) suggests that they rally together and perform for the troops during an upcoming USO tour, and everyone jumps at the opportunity to recapture their glory days.
They eventually learn that DJ Khaled will choose one of the USO musical groups to be his new opening act. But a number of obstacles—including competing groups Evermoist, Saddle Up, and Young Sparrow and DJ Dragon Nutz as well as Fat Amy’s estranged delinquent father (The Crown’s John Lithgow)—prevent the Bellas from wowing DJ Khaled with their talent and charm.
All the Bellas, that is, except for one. Beca manages to capture DJ Khaled’s attention when music producer Theo (Mortdecai’s Guy Burnet, who vaguely resembles a bearded Adam Scott) lets her play around with one of Khaled’s expensive audio mixers. Beca unsurprisingly has to decide whether or not to work with Khaled as a solo artist or stick with the Bellas and turn down a huge career opportunity. But the Bellas are a family, and Beca immediately makes it clear she won’t let anything (not even a recording contract) jeopardize that. Beca’s come a long way from her cynical, closed-off loner days, and you can’t help but smile when she riffs, dances, and talks smack with just as much enthusiasm as the other Bellas.
Deciding against using Beca’s dilemma as a major source of conflict is smart, as is choosing not to give Beca a new love interest (she’s way too good for Theo). But introducing a rift between Fat Amy and her dad, Fergus, is a little bit of a head-scratcher. The storyline gives Wilson another excuse to flaunt her comedic chops, and Fergus’ attempt to bond with his runaway daughter results in an amazing a cappella performance of Brittany Spears’ “Toxic.” But instead of seeing Fat Amy clash with a completely new character, couldn’t we have learned a little bit more about what Cynthia-Rose is up to? Or Chloe? Or Aubrey? Or any of the other Bellas we’ve already gotten to know and love?
Despite the hit-and-miss jokes, an inconsequential rivalry between the Bellas and Evermoist, and Fat Amy’s irrational hatred of Emily, you should see Pitch Perfect 3 for the Bellas’ final performance alone (they sing George Michael’s “Freedom,” which is kind of an ingenious choice). The performance itself is stunning, but it’s the Bellas’ tearful hugs that make the moment so impactful. The Pitch Perfect ladies are obviously friends both on and off-screen, and it’s probably just as hard for them to say goodbye to each other as it is for the Bellas.
Pitch Perfect 3 is out now. Check out the trailer below.