After a rollicking reunion in the effervescent 2015 sequel Pitch Perfect 2, delightfully dysfunctional a cappella champions The Barden Bellas are, frustratingly, off-key and out of sync for their teary-eyed farewell tour of the musical comedy franchise.
The uproarious original film was one of the sleeper hits of 2012, part of a modern vanguard of fabulously female-centric comedies including Bridesmaids.
Despite some cute moments and a nostalgic montage of behind-the-scenes footage over the end credits, director Trish Sie’s film is one rousing chorus of sisterly solidarity too far for these harmonious heroines.
Screenwriter Kay Cannon hits emotional bum notes for the first time.
A cacophony of hastily composed character arcs falls flat and the luminous Anna Kendrick is almost relegated to backing singer in the ensuing madness. Crushingly, John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks are little more than feedback as brilliantly waspish commentators John Smith and Gail Abernathy-McKadden.
They are shoe-horned into the background under the flimsy pretence of making a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the Bellas’ final hurrah “as these women approach 30 and cease to be valuable as human beings”.
Higgins and Banks deserve better. So do we.
On general release