The Bellas are an acapella singing group from college, though they are now past their college years, and we find them performing on a swanky yacht with concerned looks in their eyes. Then Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) smashes through the glass ceiling and sprays the men watching with a fire extinguisher, and an explosion goes off as the Bellas' leader Beca (Anna Kendrick) tries to persuade her to jump from the boat with her. So what is going on? To answer that we must go back three weeks to where Beca was realising her job as a music producer was not going to plan when she had to butter up artists who were frankly terrible. She quit, and as luck would have it had a new offer...
This offer was to get the Bellas, who had split up since the second, previous instalment, back together to sing again, and she and roommate Amy jumped at the chance - in fact, all the girls are very keen to relive their glory days as their current situations in unsatisfying jobs has made their lives utterly unfulfilled. That was the theme this time around, finding something, or someone, who will make you feel as if you're not wasting your time in this existence, and for the Bellas that's the sense of community, of family, they can enjoy when they are together. But if it were as easy as that, then Pitch Perfect 3 would be a hell of a lot less complicated than it turned out to be, plotwise.
Well, you could call it a plot, but it was more shapeless than that, more a series of linked sketches with musical interludes. If the first one was a genuine winner with thoroughly enjoyable singing and plenty spot on comedy, and the second was a step down from that while remaining entertaining enough to be worth it for fans of the original, then this was not going to please everyone, the contest storyline revived once again yet not taking the precedence that it had before. In its way, this was acknowledging that college competitions tend not to matter as much outside of your further education years, while in another it was more screenwriters Kay Cannon and Mike White struggling.
Well, "struggling" was a bit strong, as despite many not so invested in this franchise rejecting it thanks to its seeming randomness when it came to cohesion, the faithful were simply glad to see these characters for the third time when the jokes were as funny as before, if not as consistent. You could understand why this was regarded as the worst of the trilogy, but while it was a disappointment at the box office compared to the Star War and Jumanji out at the same time, it did find an audience at home. Therefore many may have turned their noses up at it, but if you appreciated what they were trying to do - go bigger and more ridiculous, essentially - you could enjoy yourself a lot more than the naysayers would have indicated, as after all these were talented people.
Not that talent never fails, but if you had taken in the negative remarks before you watched Pitch Perfect 3 yet not taken them to heart, there was a sufficiency of good laughs from the idiosyncrasies herein not to waste your time. If the music was less impressive this time, it was to do with the concentration more on generating the giggles than appealing to the ear, and that was a shame, but these actresses worked together very well, and it was a lot of fun to hear them trading the quips and getting over the characters' inferiority complexes (large and small) to attain some level of success, which to their credit did not go wholly to cliched plan. When John Lithgow showed up as Amy's evil dad, his accent was enough to have you wondering if he was to be revealed as not Australian after all, but this was an excuse for some out of place action sequences (had someone noted Melissa McCarthy's Spy success?). Nevertheless, the sweet message that while you may move on from your positive life-changing experiences, you'll never forget those who shared them was a fitting conclusion to a trio of sometimes great musical comedies. Music by Christopher Lennertz.