‘Pitch Perfect' (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + Ultraviolet)
“Pitch Perfect” might look like a “Glee”-baiting time-waster at first glance, but it has more to say about semi-nerdy pursuits and subcultures than that series could muster in four seasons. The Blu-ray edition does not add substantially to the theatrical release, but this farce about college-level a cappella competition is so enthusiastically arch and packed with both comedic and vocal chops that repeat viewings are inevitable.
Oscar-nominee Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air”) stars as Beca, an incoming reluctant freshman at Barden College, an off-kilter East Coast school where a cappella is the cornerstone of the culture. Beca wants to be a deejay and become the next David Guetta, but she soon finds herself recruited into the Barden Bellas, the campus' all-female group that has been stuck doing Ace of Base's “The Sign” and Vicki Sue Robinson's “Turn the Beat Around” for about two decades. Beca's instincts lead her to incorporate her mashup sensibilities into the group, but the hard-line leadership of alpha Bella Aubrey (Anna Camp) keeps a possibly winning formula under wraps.
Directed by Jason Moore of “Avenue Q” and written by “30 Rock” scribe Kay Cannon, “Pitch Perfect” hits the right notes by assembling a crazy-quilt of outcasts for the Bellas' latest recruiting class, led by the scene-stealing Rebel Wilson (“Bridesmaids”) as Fat Amy, a force of nature who generates many of the biggest laughs. John Michael Higgins and producer Elizabeth Banks also enjoy some great cameo scenes as competition commentators — it's never clear what broadcasting operation would run this programming, but Higgins and Banks inject some “Best in Show”-style comic crassness into their coverage.
The Blu-ray and DVD incorporate the “Line-O-Rama” special feature, which is becoming a standard add-on for comedies that get some juice from on-set improvisation. This is where all the next-best lines go to die instead of being swept off the proverbial cutting-room floor. There are some almost-winners in there, mainly from Wilson and Adam DeVine, who plays the leader of the competing Treblemakers, but a comedy as tight as “Pitch Perfect” takes all the best material from these exercises. It is easy to see why so much of “Line-O-Rama” stayed out of the final mix. “Pitch Perfect” is best enjoyed without knowing much about the process, because the final result helps this light comedy earn its title.
— George Lang