‘Pitch Perfect 3’ Drops a Pitch or Two with Its Lack of a Plot

By Tracy Wang

The popularity of the first two films in the Pitch Perfect series ensures our familiarity with the characters. Set after their graduation, it tells the story of their dissatisfaction with their jobs and their life. Though the film is again filled with beautiful vocals and songs, it is immensely short on plot points, and delivers a fragmented tale of sister love, dream and what it means to wish the best for someone you love.

It is post-graduation, and John and Gail are following Bellas around to gain interesting footage for their documentary on Bellas. Unsatisfied with their current life, Beca finally decides to quit her job as a music producer, since her opinions are so often ignored. Chloe rushes into Beca and Fat Amy’s apartment, and declares a Bellas reunion performance that night. Excited by their chance to perform again, they are soon disappointed, when they find out they are only there to watch Emily and her group perform. Aubrey mentions that her father can get their a pass to perform on the USO performance tour, and they all agree immediately. However, they are facing a lot of strong competitions for the opportunity to open a performance for DJ Khaled. As they sing, dance and perform their usual amazing vocals, more comedic moments (Fat Amy’s father kidnapping her friends) ensue. However, their issues are far from over when they escape the kidnappers by jumping into the ocean. Will they be able to deliver their final performance?

Though the main storyline is about Bellas striving to gain the opportunity to perform for DJ Khaled, the film is in truth being dragged into multiple directions, and focuses too much on DJ Khaled. The main storyline is constantly challenged with the plot points of Fat Amy’s relationship with her father, the kidnap, and Chloe’s feelings for Chicago, a soldier who is responsible for showing the Bellas around. These points all have the potential to add flavors to the whole film, and even make it into one with much more emotional impact. However, the overall effect is quite weak, since Fat Amy and her father’s scenes are soon turned into a joke of a bankrupted father threatening his daughter in order to get her money, and all the scenes that build up to the competition of performing for DJ Khaled seem to lose its focus as the movie goes on.

Instead of watching a film that has all the scenes dedicated to create a single main storyline, we are constantly trying to gather up all the individual plot points and connect them. The effort of piecing all the fragmented points together detracts us from fully feeling the tension, the desire of the characters as well as the main focus of the film.

As a comedy film, it provides us with lots of comedic moments (accidentally setting bees free in DJ Khaled’s party, Fat Amy grimacing to stop herself from crying etc.), but some of them feel a bit forced, as if the script is trying too hard to be funny. The same comedic vibe continues into the ending, when every Bellas miraculously gets what they desire (romance with Chicago for Chloe, a music career for Beca etc.). Along with wonderful acting from Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson, we get a film that is beautiful to the ear, but not so attractive story-wise.