Friday night, my girlfriend and I were doing what many past-their prime former collegiate alcoholics do nowadays–staying in after a long week of performing tasks for money, thrilled with the fact that the next morning was going to be a temporary hiatus from 6:43 am alarms, rushed showers and crowded commutes. Since we couldn’t just spend the whole night sitting there on the couch (while awesome, you apparently can’t do this and still be a happy human being), we opted to delve into the digital libraries for a movie.
We ended up going with Pitch Perfect. Neither of us had seen it, but given its place in internet folklore (one step below GIF heavyweights Mean Girls and Bridesmaids), we figured it was something “important” to watch. Also, this is now apparently grounds for watching a movie.
For me, Pitch Perfect ended up being captivating in the way stubbornly going to ice skating lessons as a five year-old is captivating. You go in a bit reluctant, but then end up hating yourself for even having questioned the greatness. It was one of more entertaining movies I’ve seen in awhile, and it’s a movie that, perhaps surprisingly, is just as much for guys as it is for girls. Here are a few reasons why:
1. The “Dodgeball” Inspired Commentary
One of the more classic movies for the contemporary Bro is Dodgeball–the 2004 film that centered around two feuding gyms, and an underdog Dodgeball squad led by Vince “but am I really an underachiever?” Vaughn.
Among other things Dodgeball, the exchanges between broadcast personalities Pepper Brooks and Cotton McKnight seem to have become immortalized in pop-culture lore. I.e,. that’s a bold move, Cotton is a thing people now say a lot.
Pitch Perfect takes this idea, and arguably makes it even funnier. The banter between acapella commentators Elizabeth Banks (a former acapella superstar) and John Michael Hastings is truly top notch, as they comment on everything from the absurdity of the genre to the male commentator’s misogyny. Below are the gems that didn’t make it into the movie:
2. Adam Devine
In the world of dude comedy, there’s arguably nobody hotter than Adam Devine right now. Workaholics is going stronger than ever, the manchild recently launched his own Comedy Central show, and it appears that he may be making the plunge into higher profile roles (he was reportedly considered to star in a big-time John Belushi biopic, a role that ultimately went to Emile Hirsch).
DeVine is his usual outrageous self in Pitch Perfect, something we’re treated to straight from the get-go. Probably the perfect move to get dudes on the movie’s side straight away.
3. It Looks At Acapella From An Outcast’s Perspective
It’s not a law or anything, but I think it’s safe to say that manliness and acapella aren’t exactly homies–something that likely has to do with the fact that acapella generally requires the expressions of #emotions and #feelings, two things dudes aren’t always the biggest fans of.
Smartly, that’s also how the movie approaches the phenomenon. Anna Kendrick is initially way too cool for acapella, expressing the same qualms that a sweatpant wearing, beer pong-happy frat star would likely have; that it’s “lame,” that she’s socially above the medium, and that she’s not exactly comfortable with expressing herself in that manner.
By not embracing the medium initially, the movie allows everyone–haters and lovers alike–to get on board.
4. It Has A Lot Of Fun With College Subcultures
While doing so in a very tongue-and-cheek fashion, the movie explores everything from fraternities, to sports teams, to campus radio, to roommate relations. By approaching all of them satirically, it manages to hone in on exaggerated stereotypes in a manner that’s (a. not insensitive, and (b. very funny.
The fraternity scene, for example, takes a nice dig at “frat culture” while also acknowledging how outrageous the socially constructed stereotype actually is.
5. It Has Anna Kendrick In It
This is helpful.
6. It’s Very Good At Making Fun Of Itself
With catchphrases like aca-scuse me? and general emphasis on underscoring ridiculousness (i.e., the rap-battle-esque “Riff Off” that goes down between the four groups) the movie understands that there’s just as much to be gleaned from the outrageousness as there is the stuff of substance.
It’s the logical progression in a world where serious things feel like parodies, and parodies feel scarily close to serious things. Pitch Perfect captures that disconnect beautifully, making for a movie that can easily be championed by anyone. This is humor in the 2010s, but it also makes for underratedly intelligent social commentary.