A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pitch Perfect 3 is the last movie in the a cappella-themed Pitch Perfect franchise starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, and Hailee Steinfeld. It still has plenty of singing and riff-offs, though there's also an action/suspense subplot that has a few scenes of peril and potential danger. But all of the Bellas are fine, and no one is hurt (although Amy beats up a lot of people). There's considerably less romance in this movie than the earlier ones, but you can expect a couple of kisses and plenty of innuendo, particularly about vaginas. Language includes "bitches," "s--t," and more. The two commentators (Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins) make sexist jokes, but aside from a bit about Amy (Wilson) starring in a one-woman show about "Fat Amy Winehouse," there are fewer fat jokes. And, as with all the Pitch Perfect movies, the underlying messages are about teamwork and the power of friendship.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In PITCH PERFECT 3, the Bellas return for one final chance to sing -- and compete -- together. After current Bella leader Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) invites Bella alumnae -- including Beca (Anna Kendrick), Amy (Rebel Wilson), and Chloe (Brittany Snow) -- to watch but not sing in a show, Aubrey (Anna Camp) decides to ask her military father to help the original squad perform for the troops in an overseas USO tour. What's more, rapper DJ Khaled (playing himself) will choose one of the four USO acts to accompany him on his world tour. The Bellas arrive in Europe to discover they're facing stiff competition: a hip-hop act, a country-folk band, and an all-women pop band (humorously called Ever Moist). As the Bellas attempt to stand out, Beca draws the attention of DJ Khaled's music producer, Theo (Guy Burnet), while Amy is followed by her long-lost father (John Lithgow), who has a dodgy past.
Is it any good?
This franchise peaked with the first film, but despite its tone problems, this final movie is worth seeing for fans who can't get enough of the Bellas (and for moviegoers who enjoy musical numbers). Pitch Perfect 3 is really just an excuse to get this diverse squad of actresses together to sing together one last time. Their bubbly a cappella renditions of pop classics are difficult to resist, even though the plot is razor thin and doesn't make it easy to even root for the ladies. First, nepotism is what grants them a spot performing and competing against more established musicians. Second, all of the 20-something women besides Beca (who quits her job as a music producer after a humorous confrontation with a young rapper) and Amy (who barely makes a living with her "Fat Amy Winehouse" one-woman show) are actually fine in the real world. They just want to hang with their college squad again.
Although the movie isn't without its funny, crowd-pleasing moments, it's hard to root for the former Barden Bellas when, as Beca admits to Theo, they just "sing for fun." In that way, they're not at all on the level of the three far more serious acts on the USO tour. Even their rivals aren't particularly mean, with the exception of Calamity (Ruby Rose) from Ever Moist. As for Amy's father issues, they lead to an off-putting subplot, while Aubrey's daddy problems are magically fixed by the end of the movie. Yes, it's fun to watch these Bellas sing again, but it's clear this is a farewell. The Glee zeitgeist that helped make the original such a cultural phenomenon may be over, but goodwill for this ensemble should go far enough to bring tween and teen girls to the movies one more time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of the Pitch Perfect movies. Why do you think this series has such a big following? Do they make you appreciate a cappella music more?
How do the Pitch Perfect movies present female friendship? Is it realistic? Do you think the bonds of female friendship are portrayed in a positive manner?
Fat Amy calls herself "fat" as a way to get ahead of any possible bullying and because she's proud of herself just the way she is. What do you think of this approach? (Also, talk to your kids about bullying and how to handle it if it happens.)
- In theaters: December 22, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: March 20, 2018
- Cast: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld
- Director: Trish Sie
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: crude and sexual content, language and some action
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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