By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

I have never really gotten in to the TV show Glee.  Actually, I think I have only watched one episode of the show and that was after a Super Bowl about two years ago. It just isn’t my cup of tea, so to speak.  So when I saw the TV spots for this film, I simply rolled my eyes in annoyance as it seemed like a shameless Glee knock off.  Well, after watching the film, I have to say that I enjoyed it much more than I had anticipated.  The plot and story played out predictably with few surprises, but what I found most surprising was how much I loved the jokes and humor, particularly the comic material written for and performed by Rebel Wilson, whose character Fat Amy steals the show.

Beca (Anna Kendrick), a freshman in college, has enrolled only to appease her father, but dreams of dropping out to become a famous dee jay.  Not really able to fit in anywhere, she ends up recruited as a member for the Bellas, a competitive acapella singing group. Beca and the other Bellas hope to win a major competition; however, their tightly wound, control freak of a leader, Chloe (Brittany Snow), holds them back by playing it way too safe with their shows.

Director Jason Moore and screenwriter Kay Cannon. who based the script on the book by Michael Rapkin, do not offer anything dynamically unique in terms of story and plot, but as far as comedy is concerned, this is where this movie excels.  I was laughing constantly and so were the members of the audience.  Granted, some of the characters are a bit cartoonish and over the top, but I easily forgave this flaw as most of the characters offered something fun and entertaining to the film.  A few of the comic scenarios also go a bit too far sometimes, testing credibility, but these did not take away from my overall enjoyment of the film.

I am not a huge fan of musicals.  I do like some, but to be honest, it doesn’t fall into my list of favorite genres.  I actually liked the numbers performed in the film.  The cast, while probably heavily produced, sound terrific.  I probably won’t run out and buy the soundtrack, but I would probably watch this movie again and again for the jokes. I do enjoy a good comedy.

Rebel Wilson delivers what may be the best comedic performance by an actress this year. This talented actress has such excellent comic timing and seems to have a natural ability to improvise well in certain scenes.  I would love to see her nominated in the Best Actress: Comedy/Musical category at the Golden Globes next year.  This truly is a breakthrough role for her.  Another actor who deserves recognition is Adam DeVine who hilariously portrays the rival leader Bumper.  I could not get enough of Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins who play the competition announcers Gail and John.  After Fat Amy, these two characters had some of the best one-liners and some uproariously funny dialogue as they offer the play-by-play at the singing contests.  Anna Kendrick and Skylar Astin, who plays love interest Jesse, are both quite charming and lovable in their lead roles.

This is one of those movies I will recommend as a full priced ticket, only to die hard fans of musical comedies, the TV show GLEE, or Rebel Wilson.  Otherwise, I will recommend catching the movie as a matinee.  It doesn’t offer anything new in terms of story, but is worth a trip to the cinema for the comedy.



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