There can’t have been many pundits back in 2012 who would have picked out a musical comedy set in the arcane world of American college a cappella singing as a potential box-office hit. Yet Pitch Perfect struck a resounding chord with audiences with its blend of the tuneful underdog triumphs of Glee, then midway through its six-year run, and the sassiness of the previous year’s Bridesmaids.
The 2015 sequel followed a similar formula, proving that its stars’ unruly camaraderie remained infectious even if the film itself didn’t quite hit its predecessor’s high notes. Now comes the almost inevitable threequel, and while the series’ shtick is undeniably being stretched a little thin here, the quirky characters remain on song. This time, however, Anna Kendrick’s talented Beca, Rebel Wilson’s irrepressibly brash Fat Amy, Brittany Snow’s redheaded Chloe, and their fellow Barden Bellas have put university life behind them. Unfortunately, their post-college careers haven’t quite turned out as they’d hoped. So in a bid to rediscover their collective pep, the Bellas reunite for an overseas tour entertaining US troops in Europe.
Along the way, they face nervy riff-offs against a new set of rivals, including a sassy all-girl rock band led by Orange Is the New Black’s Ruby Rose, while Beca attracts the musical interest of tour host DJ Khaled and Fat Amy has to deal with a shifty figure from her past (John Lithgow, sporting a cheerfully dodgy Australian accent). Chances are, you’ll forget the film’s plot almost immediately, but the upbeat songs and jokey one-liners should linger a little longer.