You can call this Glee meets Mean Girls if you want to, but this riotously intelligent comedy is much better than that. With one of the funniest scripts of the year, the film keeps us laughing all the way through, never running out of witty gags even when the rather predictable plot kicks into gear. But then, we never really care where the story's going when getting there is this much fun. And honestly, we never want this movie to end.
Anna Kendrick stars as Beca, a young woman who would rather mix mash-up tracks than attend a boring university. But here she is, so she decides to make a go of it by getting a job at the student radio station and joining the women's competitive a cappella group, the Bellas. But control-freak leader Aubrey (Camp) is annoyed to have the snarky Beca in her group, to say nothing of self-named Fat Amy (Wilson). Meanwhile, Beca's colleague at the radio station, Jesse (Astin), joins the champion male group the Troublemakers, led by the arrogant Bumper (DeVine). But as Beca and Jesse start to become friends, they risk running afoul of Aubrey's only rule: Bellas cannot date Troublemakers.
This rom-com plot isn't the focus of the film, nor is the impending a cappella championship, which we know from the start will be a showdown between the two groups. No, the focus is on the individual journeys of the characters, and even the smallest side characters are given space in which to grow on us. They're also brilliantly well-played by the entire cast, anchored by a solid, surprisingly layered turn from Kendrick. But the film's real scene-stealers are Banks and Higgins as competition commentators who reel off snappy jokes with such blinding speed that we can barely breathe whenever they're on screen.
Both filmmakers and actors invest a lot of meaty themes into these characters, and they also have a great time with the infectious music, including a fabulous riff-off and an exhilarating climactic mega mash-up. We also get a spirited look at the workings of the a cappella subculture that's as jaggedly funny as Strictly Ballroom's jab at ballroom dancing. And for every sophisticated joke in the script, writer Cannon remembers that we like astute broad comedy just as much. Projectile vomiting has never been this funny.
Run time: 112 mins
In Theaters: Friday 5th October 2012
Box Office USA: $65.0M
Box Office Worldwide: $113M
Distributed by: Universal Studios
Production compaines: Brownstone Productions
Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Fresh: 111 Rotten: 26
IMDB: 7.3 / 10
Director: Jason Moore
Screenwriter: Kay Cannon
Starring: Anna Kendrick as Beca, Skylar Astin as Jesse, Ben Platt as Benji, Brittany Snow as Chloe, Anna Camp as Aubrey, Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy, Alexis Knapp as Stacie, Ester Dean as Cynthia Rose, Hana Mae Lee as Lilly, Kelley Jakle as Jessica (as Kelley Alice Jakle), Wanetah Walmsley as Denise, Shelley Regner as Ashley, Caroline Fourmy as Mary Elise, Nicole Lovince as Kori, Adam DeVine as Bumper, Utkarsh Ambudkar as Donald, Michael Viruet as Unicycle, David Del Rio as Kolio, Elizabeth Banks as Gail, John Michael Higgins as John, John Benjamin Hickey as Dr. Mitchell, Freddie Stroma as Luke, Jinhee Joung as Kimmy Jin, Jacob Wysocki as Justin, Jawan Harris as Timothy, Richard Kohnke as Football Player - ATO, Scott Shilstone as Frat Boy - ATO, Brock Kelly as Howie - ATO, Drew Battles as Emcee at Regionals, Katrina Despain as UMass Greeter, Cameron Deane Stewart as Tom (as Cameron Stewart), Kether Donohue as Alice, Karen Gonzales as Barb, Lauren Gros as RIAC Representative #1, Alex Biglane as RIAC Representative #2, Michael Alexander as Jewish Student, Tyler Forrest as High Note #1, Joe Lo Truglio as Clef #1, Har Mar Superstar as Clef #2, Jason Jones as Clef #3, Donald Faison as Clef #4, Jabari Thomas as Emcee - Opening, Judd Lormand as Emcee at Semi-Finals, Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Tommy, Steven Bailey as Treble #1, Michael Anaya as Treble #2, Gregory Gorenc as Treble #3, Brian Silver as Treble #4, Wes Lagarde as Treble #5, Jonathan Brannan as Opening Treble #1, Donald Watkins as Opening Treble #2, Jessica Jain as High Note #2, Nate Howard as High Note #7, Ben Haist as BU Harmonics #1, Rose Davis as BU Harmonics #2, Chiara Pittman as BU Harmonics #3, Emma Graves as BU Harmonics #4, Emily Rodriguez as BU Harmonics #5, Sawyer McLeod as BU Harmonics #6, Chase Cooksey as BU Harmonics #7, Adam Gilbert as BU Harmonics #8, Megan Dupre as Opening Bellas #1, Brittney Alger as Opening Bellas #2, Monika Guiberteau as Opening Bellas #3, Jessica Poumaroux as Opening Bellas #3, Jackie Tuttle as Opening Bellas #5, Elizabeth Chance as Opening Bellas #6, Margo Melancon as Opening Bellas #7, Brooke Fontenot as Opening Bellas #8, C.J. Perry as Opening Bellas #9 / Footnote #5, Maya Estephanos as Sockapella #1, Brian Mason as Sockapella #2, Xavier Joe Wilcher as Sockapella #3, Julia Friedman as Sockapella #4, Esther Long as Sockapella #5, Aakomon H. Jones as Sockapella #6, Sora Connor as Footnote #2, Elise Wilson as Footnote #3, Sean Bankhead as Footnote #4, Matthew Laraway as Footnote #6, Madison Benson as Footnote #7, Kenneth Tipton as Footnote #8, Jeremy Strong as Footnote #9, Dylan Cheek as Footnote #10, Naeemah McCowan as Footnote #11, Allison Sahonic as Footnote #12, Codie L. Wiggins as Footnote #13, Kelly Snow as Hullabahoo #1, Nathan Swedberg as Hullabahoo #2, Matthew Savarese as Hullabahoo #3, Sanford Williams as Hullabahoo #4, Charles Miller as Hullabahoo #5, Brandon Borror-Chappell as Hullabahoo #6, Sean McDonald as Hullabahoo #7, Nicholas Cafero as Hullabahoo #8, Alexander Fabian as Hullabahoo #9, Paul Ruess as Hullabahoo #10, Andrew O'Shanick as Hullabahoo #11, Samuel Brennan as Hullabahoo #12, Thaddeus Potter as Hullabahoo #13, Jacob Mainwaring as Hullabahoo #14, Alexander Sneider as Hullabahoo #15, William Laverack as Hullabahoo #16, Renaldo McClinton as Rapper #1, Richard Coleman as ND Auditioner #1, Margaret Osburn as ND Auditioner #2, Dan Iwrey as ND Auditioner #3, Ali Bloomston as ND Auditioner #4, Shawn Barry as ND Auditioner #5, Alexandra Weinroth as ND Auditioner #6, Ciera Dawn Washington as ND Auditioner #7, Felipe Fuentes as ND Auditioner #9, Glen Aucoin as Beatboxer, Deke Sharon as Male Voice #1, Ed Boyer as Male Voice #2, Brandon Kitchel as Male Voice #3, Jasper Randall as Male Voice #4, Drew Seeley as Male Voice #5, Jeff Lewis as Male Voice #6, Laura Dickinson as Female Voice #1, Candice Helfand as Female Voice #2, Windy Wagner as Female Voice #3, Jessica Rotter as Female Voice #4, Kari Kimmel as Female Voice #5, Kala Balch as Female Voice #6, Emily Benford as Female Voice #7