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Pitch is less than perfect third time around

Sequels, as any fan of the Police Academy films will tell you, are a tricky beast.

The initial idea will need a spruce, some new characters may be needed to jazz things up a tad, or worst of all you may need a new location.

If you’re really struggling for inspiration, why not go for the whole lot?

Which brings us to Pitch Perfect 3….

Now, as an avowed fan of the first two, I was really looking forward to this. Anna Kendrick is a comic tour de force as Beca, and the rest of the gang aren’t far behind.

Now, what made the first two films so much fun was the ‘underdog’ aspect. A bunch of unwanteds against the world, shunned by their peers and clawing their way back up.

Plus singing.

It was simple. And funny. And sharp. And hilarious.

And PP2 was more of the similar. Just with the vocals turned up to 11.

So why, oh why, oh why, did they have to try the Are You Being Served (or Sex In The City 2 as my other half observed) trick of taking the gang on holiday?

I can kind of understand the decision to pitch the Bellas up against actual musical instruments – I can even get on board with the underlying theme of daddy issues (although this would have made far more sense in the first one).

But do we gain anything by taking the girls to Europe? by having them play at various US bases?

No. Sadly we don’t.

What we get as a result is a heartwarming first 40 minutes, with the people we know and love, a few good gags and a shark balloon being punched.

And then we get the lovely, feel-good ending we all wanted.

In between we have three different stories going on, none of them strong enough to survive on their own, and John Lithgow doing a terrible Australian accent.

It can’t be stated enough that the central performances are all great.

That’s not the problem.

The issue is within the script.

And, oddly, with the inclusion of Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins – the bitchy pundits from the first two films.

With there no being no contest this time around, Banks and Higgins are relegated to bit-parts as the pair try and create a documentary about the Bellas for no apparent reason.

It doesn’t give the pair space to shine, for their one-liners to be of use and it just adds extra confusion to an already muddled narrative.

The songs are, as ever, great, but there are too many issues for PP3 to be put up there with the first two.

There is even talk of younger girls coming in so the franchise can flourish, but based on this you have to hope someone somewhere sees sense.

I wanted to love this film as much as the first two.

I at least wanted to laugh as much.

But, despite a strong start and great ending, I was just left with the shock realisation that Baywatch was actually a more entertaining movie.

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Unsalted Popcorn
A fresh approach to film reviews - no spoilers, just honest and heartfelt opinions.

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