The most recent in the onslaught of Glee-inflected movies, Pitch Perfect is the story of rival a cappella groups on a Georgia college campus. They fight like the Sharks and the Jets, but instead of bringing switchblades to the rumble, they're armed with musical mashups. I smiled for the first half of the movie and started laughing hysterically when a supporting character hijacked it from its stars.
The guys' group is the Treblemakers, the gals' is the Bellas. While fraternization among members of the competing troupes is not allowed, über-sincere Jesse (Skylar Astin) is crushing on alt-chick Beca (Anna Kendrick) in a romance that has the approximate plausibility of Romeo and Joan Jett. Musically speaking, he's David Cassidy; she's David Guetta.
There are competitive sparks between the groups, romantic ones between Jesse and Beca, and friction within each troupe. The Treblemakers are led by Bumper (Adam DeVine), sexist and arrogant; the Bellas by Aubrey (Anna Camp), a control freak who likes her music vanilla and her clothes to resemble that of flight attendants.
Will Bumper stop treating the Treblemakers as his backup boys? Will Aubrey let the Bellas sing a song recorded after 1980? Will Jesse and Beca kiss? Stop asking questions your 10-year-old sister can answer.
Speaking of which, she would love this movie but probably shouldn't see it because it's PG-13. There are a lot of jokes about sex, most of them delivered by Rebel Wilson (Bachelorette) as Fat Amy, the Australian so irreverent I laughed reflexively every time she opened her mouth. (There is also a fair amount of sex talk from Alexis Knapp as Stacie, a glamazon with pipes.)
With delayed-action timing that makes her seem slow until her perfectly aimed fast one produces a belly laugh, Wilson steals everything in the movie that's not nailed down. When Fat Amy dismisses some jonquil-thin Bellas as "twig girls," she strikes a blow for trunk girls everywhere. And she makes a pleasant enough college musical worth seeing just for her brass.
Also quite droll are John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks (one of the film's producers) as a cappella competition color commentators.
Contact movie critic Carrie Rickey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her at http://www.carrierickey.com.