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Originally published Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 3:02 PM

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'Pitch Perfect' isn't, but it's still irresistibly comic

"Pitch Perfect," directed by Jason Moore and starring Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin and Rebel Wilson, is a cheerful teen comedy about a group of kids obsessed with a cappella singing. It's playing at several theaters in the Seattle area.

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review 3 stars

'Pitch Perfect,' with Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Adam DeVine, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, John Michael Higgins, Elizabeth Banks. Directed by Jason Moore, from a screenplay by Kay Cannon, based on the book by Mickey Rapkin. 105 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sexual material, language and drug references. Several theaters.

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"A-ca-scuse me?" says Aubrey (Anna Camp), leader of the choir group The Bellas; she, like nearly everybody in the cheerful teen comedy "Pitch Perfect," is obsessed with a cappella singing. Taking place at Barden University — populated by perfectly coifed students who apparently never study — the movie's about Beca (Anna Kendrick), a cute sort-of loner and would-be music producer who finds a home with The Bellas and with what one character scornfully refers to as "organized nerd singing." The group, as we learn in the opening scenes, is particularly driven to win the Big Contest (i.e. the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella), after messing up spectacularly last year.

Things unfold in predictable fashion (Beca's comment, "I don't like movies; they're so predictable" notwithstanding), but what makes "Pitch Perfect" work are its funny one-liners, rousing music and oddball performances. Kendrick, who I've long suspected to be a character actress hiding in ingénue form, uses her slightly metallic, brittle quality to give Beca an interesting tension; Rebel Wilson ("Bridesmaids") continues her weirdly effective shtick of saying her lines as if the words have been randomly rearranged; Hana Mae Lee is a scream as meek choir member Lilly, who keeps murmuring things that the others can't quite hear (e.g. "Do you guys want to see a dead body?"); and John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks punctuate the film to good comic effect as a pair of so-serious-they're- funny competition commentators. Not quite pitch perfect, but it's irresistible.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

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