Pitch Perfect 3 – musical comedy franchise hits a bum note

The first Pitch Perfect film was like the first Christmas party of the season – all perky, wide-eyed optimism, effortless harmony and adorable, spangly accessories. Which makes Pitch Perfect 3 the last party – when the good times have long given way to a grinding sense of duty and inevitability; when you’ve been recycling and touching up the same smeared makeup for over a week. It’s the moment when you are trying to work out if the vomit on your shoe is yours or someone else’s. It’s the point when your own liver files a restraining order. And if you think this metaphor is laboured, trust me, it’s nothing compared to this joyless flogging of the dead horse of competitive a cappella.

The key members of the singing troupe the Bellas – Beca (Anna Kendrick), Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) and Chloe (Brittany Snow) – are all now long past college age but are fixated on the glory days of their youth. As such, it’s a little bit like Trainspotting 2, but with less heroin. The Bellas are offered the opportunity to take part in a US army entertainment tour that, more through narrative necessity than logic, is also a competition. Meanwhile, there’s a subplot involving Fat Amy’s estranged dad that is so lazy, you half expect it to just curl up in the middle of the movie for a nap. A-ca-trocious.

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