Honestly, I was expecting it to be The Best Thing Ever, since I love Glee, and this was widely acclaimed by people who formerly liked Glee but then turned on it, so I assumed it must be even better than my beloved show. My only skepticism/reason I stalled on watching it is due to my deep and intense dislike of Rebel Wilson.
[DISCLAIMER: I am going to start with the negatives, but I ended up watching the movie a second time because I knew my mom would like it, and the second time around almost everything got a lot better. I promise, this post is going to end with a giant list of positive things.]
As it turns out, she is actually not the worst part of this movie. She's not great - some of her attempts at deadpan just come across as plain lifeless, and her "IDGAF, I'm going to act like I'm supermodel-hot so you're afraid to question me" attitude doesn't exactly add anything - but Fat Amy does not seem to be as obnoxious/loud/brash as the actress herself tends to come across. (that said, the character's explanation of her name is kind of pointless - almost no one in this movie except Bumper even seems to notice her size, so it reminds me of Kat on the Survivor reunion going "LOL, you got me, I DID have a boob job!" when literally no one was paying attention)
No, what this movie needs is a complete and total excision of the vomit storyline. I can actually feel my skin crackling with rage every time I think about how completely that crap ruins the movie. The absolute most they needed to use it was as the reason they lost last year. But we did not need to see it happen at that point. We did not need need to see it happen again on video later. And we most especially did not need it introduced at any point in that entire scene where Beca comes back. No. Hard pass. Rewrite that entire scene; it's not a funny or fitting callback, it's just a mind-bogglingly stupid choice.
And as if seeing it happen again wasn't bad enough -- we did not need to subsequently see anyone fall in it, or make angel patterns in it, or have a closeup of a flying object sliding into it. What is WRONG with you, seriously. Did no one at any point think, "Hm, this might actually be making the movie worse" and consider taking it out? Why isn't everyone getting angry about this with me!
[Parting thoughts: Glee casting spoilers...if you care about that sort of thing?]
While you're at it, maybe get rid of that intensely creepy, sexual-predatory vibe where Brittany Snow's character corners Beca in the shower. That was also gross, which is too bad, because the way they harmonized was really beautiful, but it's hard to watch because it overwhelmingly makes me want to blow my official rape whistle. (also, what kind of college dorm would not have concrete walls between the showers/doors that lock? That doesn't even make sense.)
Minor Bad Things
I twitched every time I saw one of Beca's tattoos. (Don't care if that's a character trait. Still unpleasant.)
There were some language bombs, but far from the worst I've encountered in a PG-13 movie, so this is really minor.
Fat Amy and the following: ripping open her shirt, pulling out the middle finger, that whole Deaf Jews scene, and every time she sings -- is she supposed to sound terrible? Is that the humor of hiring Rebel Wilson? Because she even sounds bad on the official soundtrack, and all the other bad things from the movie were smoothed over and improved for the soundtrack production.
I really don't like Anna Camp, and in this case I can't tell if it's her shrill character -- who SEEMS like she should be my favorite, since she's basically me, with her love of tradition and refusal to do current songs or change in any way at all, her perfect WASP-y appearance (my ideal), and her insistence upon classiness and following the rules at all times -- or that I am still that mad at The Office for miscasting her and apparently creating a permanent grudge against her face.
In fact, the biggest surprise for me, on first watch, was how little I liked most of the characters. For a film being sold as all about women, I thought it was weird that Jesse was my hands-down favorite. All of the girls had some kind of appearance and/or personality flaw that prevented them from being entirely likable, and then there was him, with his charmingly earnest pursuit, endless patience, wholesome All-American attractiveness, beautiful voice, and zero flaws. The girls get more tolerable the second time you watch it, but they're still not perfect. He is. Which is interesting, because really, he seems like a pretty average guy when we first met him, nothing all that special, but then somewhere between the point where they met in the radio station and when he came to eat lunch with Beca uninvited, he bowled my heart over and took up residence in it. I think we're heading into the "good" section now...
In a choice between "free college education" and "move to LA and get a job at a record label," I would always encourage the first one, but at the same time, I liked Beca's determination and drive. She is definitely a bit too "alternative" for my tastes, but she gets better. She's my favorite female character, except maybe for...
Brittany Snow's character. When fully dressed, she is amazing and I love everything she says and does, as well as her entire appearance, with her bright red hair and huge, sparkling blue eyes. In fact, when she's not cornering vulnerable young women, I am even amused by the idea of her confidently strolling around naked in front of other people.
Bumper starts out so horrible, but then he ends up being the funniest part of the movie in his unabashed and unrelenting jerkitude (so again I am forced to ask, why do the dudes keep besting the ladies??).
The secretly psychotic low talker - just the best. "I set fires to feel joy."
Kimmy Jin's deadpan stares. Kimmy Jin is my other favorite female college student, since her withering contempt for everyone and everything is actually flawless.
I loved the misogynist judge (Hey, It's That Guy!) and Elizabeth Banks' responses to him. She's so good at silly, over-the-top roles like this. I just love Elizabeth Banks all the time. I feel like this is a new feeling, but I'm not sure why I wouldn't have always loved her, so...ignore me.
Benji! Benji is the sweetest thing, with his dorky but harmless fanboying and his magic featuring live animals.
And for as many friendships as were supposedly formed within the Bellas, there was no platonic friendship I loved half as much as these two roommates. I love how it seems like Jesse's going to be a stereotypical jerk when he walks in and confronts the Star Wars wall, but five seconds later he's like, "No, that's cool, I can roll with this." I'm just saying, I would read several fanfics about their adventures in roommatehood that the movie didn't have time to portray.
Ryan the Managing DJ was a nice bit of eye candy. There's a really nice deleted scene with him and Beca that is mostly there to punch you in the heart muscle over how sweet Jesse is, but it also makes you think, "you know, I would not hate a story where she hooks up with Ab Guy before she comes around on Jesse." That said, I think they did a really good job with their working relationship -- even though he comes across as cold, he doesn't actually seem snide or mean-spirited, just too busy overseeing to get invested in someone that for all he knows will have lost interest in six months or is only doing this to pad a resume. The age difference, too, makes a big difference -- it's not that different from how you tend to stick with your own year in high school.
I could literally devote an entire Tumblr to the many ways in which I love the development of Jesse & Beca's friendship/relationship. But the kiss was especially fantastic. I also kept having to fight not to put that moment where he hears her start "Don't You Forget About Me" on stage as my favorite shippy scene of 2013, because that was magnificent. These two are definitely way up there in my Favorite Movie Couples.
(Making her laugh against her will with album covers. That super-charged moment on her sofabed where they almost kiss. His constant low-grade irritation at Ryan both for failing to recognize Beca's awesomeness and just for existing with his stupid abs. Jesse trying to help her out post-arrest. Tears streaming down Beca's face when she finally watches The Breakfast Club and runs to apologize. Literally everything else they do with regards to each other, even the fight.)
THE MUSIC. There are very few things I don't love about the music in this one -- the only one that put me to sleep was the Treblemakers in the championship at the end. I fell in love with "Cups" on the radio, so that hardly seems fair to label my favorite, but it's either that or the gorgeous version of "Party in the U.S.A." I also really enjoyed the riff-off -- I mean, I could have done with way fewer selections from the "songs about sex" category, but it did make me accidentally fall in love with "S&M." I've been avoiding it so far due to the title + fact that it's sung by Rihanna, and sure enough its lyrics are as trashy and gross as it seems like it would be, but I couldn't hear the lyrics very well at first. All I knew was that it sounded awesome/was the best part of the riff-off other than "No Diggity."
"The Sign" was so pretty -- I wish they'd repeated that intro bar about eight times in a row, it delighted my ears so much. And of course, the last number was DJ Earworm levels of awesome, though nothing was so pretty as the samples of "Don't You Forget About Me." I've been singing it all day.
Did I mention how happy I am that there are zero physical hookups in this movie?? That almost makes up for the gross humor. I kept cringing in anticipation of when I would have to cover my eyes or suffer through some kind of horrible scene, but I'm not sure anybody even made out. I didn't think that was possible for a movie set in college.
"This sucks. I wanted to play music."
"Not me. I'm here for one reason: I really love stacking CDs."
--I laughed forever and ever because that is pretty much how I would respond, only I would be serious. I would MUCH rather stack CDs for hours than be responsible for playing music, or anything else creative/independently driven. At least until I'd gotten comfortable with my duties for two or three years.
"You are probably the grossest human being I've ever met."
--Stands alone, or can be added to:
"I have a feeling we should kiss. Is that a good feeling or an incorrect feeling?"
"Well...sometimes I have the feeling I could do crystal meth. But then I think, mmm, better not."
"Kimmy Jin is my friend."
Parting thoughts: part of the reason I doubled down on my efforts to watch this ASAP was hearing that Skylar Astin is going to guest star on Glee (let's not talk about how Lea Michele apparently wanted him for Brody; I can't decide if that would have been heartbreaking or made season 4 way more bearable. I'm afraid it might have been the latter, given how much I loved Jesse despite his equally skeevy personality). When I first heard this news, I was like, "Oh, that sounds all right. His face doesn't seem objectionable," and now it's like GET HERE THIS INSTANT OMG.
EDIT: Pitch Perfect has 2000 stories on fanfiction.net. I don't know what sort of cracky direction they run in (remember how disappointing Inkheart was?), but what I'm hearing is there is legitimately a whole fandom of stories to play in. GUYS! Rec me all the things you know about. That are not slash. Oh god, this fandom is full of femslash, isn't it? That's the mold in its walls*.
*I'm watching The King of Queens. Suddenly it seemed like an apt metaphor. I'm not sure it is.
In other news, if you enjoy Friends, please answer my query over here! That's my next Chris project, since I introduced him to Pushing Daisies last night. Incidentally, that makes a really excellent show for cuddle-viewing. Not only is it full of whimsy and bright colors (despite all the dead bodies) and the world's cutest dog, but then you can look at each other and say, "Aren't you glad we can touch each other without wearing gloves?"
And then maybe the following text exchange unfolds over the course of the next day:
(after I ask what he's planning to do with his day off)
11:19: I was going to talk a walk, but that seems like a less than ideal choice today. I'll think of something!
11:20: Maybe I'll take up knitting.
7:37: I have been making baking and pie puns all day.
7:38: Consequently, I am rolling in the dough.
Me: Delighted to hear it. That's the #1 ingredient in a good boyfriend. (ok, mine are terrible. I'll leave it to the punmaker)
8:13: Delicious. Absolutely delicious.