Last Updated on Thursday, 27 September 2012 08:56 Posted by Clash Friday, 28 September 2012 01:55
Film And DVD Reviews by Phil Boatwright
CREDITS: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson. Universal Studios. Musical comedy. Written Kay Cannon, Mickey Rapkin. Directed by Jason Moore. 10/5/12
FILM SYNOPSIS: A freshman at Barden University, Beca (with one “c”) soon joins The Bellas, her school's all-girls singing group. It should be noted that we discover on her arrival that Beca’s roommate is an Asian girl with attitude, much like a goth girl without the heavy black eyeliner, who delights in calling Beca the “white girl”. Could this be the only person on campus with attitude? No. Most girls at this college resemble the adversary to the star of each and every Nickelodeon tween series. Only here, they get to call each other “Bitch.” Even Beca has her dark moments, usually in the form of temper tantrums towards her father and the boy at school who dotes on her every whim. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, despite its leader’s draconian control, Beca helps the group battle their male rivals in a championship a cappella competition.
REVIEW: Under the protective auspices of Universal Studios, Dr. Frankenstein is at it again, this time attempting to create an entertainment subgenre by assembling spare parts left over from other cinematic atrocities. He combines the song-singing rivalries from Disney’s High School Musical and Glee with the mean girl comedy of the Bring It On franchise, hoping to give life to his vision of the new Hollywood musical. To ensure the stability of his cinematic creation, the good doctor breathes into his motionless slab the essence of this era’s school of comedy, which substitutes crude and irreverent dialogue for perceptive wit. His mindless creature then fumbles and stumbles around, occasionally resembling something worthy of all that celluloid. If we peasants had any sense, we’ll pick up our torches and storm the Universal castle, assuring the end of such entertainment monstrosities.
Snideness aside, those involved have proven their cinematic chops. The star, Anna Kindrick, has even been nominated for a best supporting Oscar (Up In the Air). I’m not ridiculing the filmmakers’ abilities. But as with most comedies filling the Cineplexes, the humor is generated from excess. Everybody gets to curse (always so lady-like), the lead even profaning Jesus’ name. There are lots of lesbian jokes and each of the female stars, each nearer to 30 than to 20, playing college coeds in a movie aimed at junior high girls, plays her part as if her reality were based upon a cable sitcom. Oops, there I go again with snideness.
Bottom line, it’s truly a chick flick, as I’m assuming its directive is to introduce middle school girls to the fantasies of dorm life. There’s nothing fresh in the film, except Fat Amy (that’s what she calls herself), who delivers the raunchy punch puns after each lame setup. The biggest laughs were generated from the I-can’t-believe-I-just-heard-that concept that dominates the comedy scene of today. Forget observational humor, when you’ve got a character named Fat Amy. As to the music, there’s lots of it. And it’s as memorable as Lady Gaga’s last wardrobe.
I don’t like being so snide. So, let’s leave on a kinder, gentler note. Let’s point out a positive, uplifting moment that will inspire…I’m thinking, I’m thinking.
PG-13 (Lots of sexual innuendo and crass sexual remarks; around ten obscenities – mostly the s-word – as well as nearly all the ladies use the word “bitch” to describe one another; two misuses of Christ’s name and the expression “oh my God” is uttered upon occasion; a couple of sexual situations; a shower scene, though no nudity, a great deal of sexual references and much of the humor is based on sexuality; some references to a lesbian; some drinking). Running Time: 112 min. Intended Audience: ?
Besides providing a monthly column for Baptist Press, he reviews films for www.previewonline.org. He also is a regular contributor to "The World and Everything In it," a weekly radio program from WORLD News Group, which also publishes WORLD Magazine.
For information about Phil Boatwright, go to moviereporter.com.
Profanity – God’s name followed by a curse or the abusive use of Christ’s name
Obscenity – a swear word, indecent language
Expletive – minor curse words such as damn or hell
Crudity – vulgar, often coarse situations or dialogue dealing with bodily functions
Adult Subject Matter – situations or subjects unsuitable for or difficult to comprehend by children