Victory is so sweet.
Especially when you win countless awards and receive mountains of recognition. But nothing lasts forever. And when the stage lights and applause die out, the only thing left is reality.
That is exactly where the former Barden Bellas have found themselves these days: trudging through the mundane routines of post-competition life. Until one day, that is, when they get a call from a current Barden Bella, Emily, inviting them to reunite.
Brimming with renewed purpose, the Bellas prepare to take the stage once again. That’s when they discover they’ve been asked to watch, not to perform.
Bummer. Talk about a complex.
But it’s hard to keep a good Bella down. So these young women devise a plan to reclaim their a cappella fame: performing for military personnel and their families on the USO tour in Europe. But when they get to France, they find that the competition is far tougher than they expected.
Facing stakes higher than they’ve ever been, the Bellas must rally together one last time as they compete for the top spot and work to remain a loyal, musical family.
Beca and Fat Amy share an apartment these days, working hard to stay positive about where their lives have taken them. And when all of the members of the Barden Bellas reunite, they realize that they can still have fun shooting for the stars. And what says “shooting for the stars” better than a European tour?
After the women arrive in France, Fat Amy consoles Aubrey, who’s disappointed that her father may not be able to see her last performance as a Bella. Later, Fat Amy ponders the possibility of reconnecting with her own father (who’s just reappeared in her life), though she’s hesitant because he’s a criminal with a tendency to bend the truth.
A soldier named Chicago, along with his partner, offer to be personal body guards for the women—especially in one particularly threatening situation.
After realizing that they may not win the competition, the Bellas set aside their insecurities and decide to have fun instead of just competing. And that leads to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Beca. In support of Beca, the members of the group agree that family members hold each other up, not back.
Finally, we hear public recognition for all the hard work and sacrifice made by American troops, even as Beca sings about the importance of trust and remaining faithful: “I won’t let you down, I will not give you up.”
Lilly, who’s notorious for her silence, eventually speaks, saying, “Satan has finally left my body.” Flo responds by crossing herself.
One of the Bellas, Stacie, is pregnant. When asked who the father is, she shrugs as if it’s unknown and unimportant.
The women dance provocatively on- and offstage. The Bellas and other competitors wear short skirts and dresses, as well as low-cut shirts baring cleavage, bras and midriffs. One man rips open his shirt, while another stands shirtless, and we see men and women in bathing suits at a pool and at the beach.
Fat Amy says she knows some of her father’s criminal associates “really well,” implying past sexual experiences with them. She’s also responsible for most of the movie’s sexual innuendos. Fat Amy talks about a band named Ever Moist, while referring to her own grandmother as “never moist.” We hear a crude references to a “camel toe,” as well as comments about various body parts and Fat Amy’s promiscuous past. There’s also a gag about a tattoo her boyfriend has on his backside.
When referring to how close she feels to the Bellas, a singer named Chloe says, “I’m inside all of you and it feels so good.” In one scene she “accidentally” grabs Beca’s breasts for an extended amount of time. She also tells the women they won’t have to “sleep on top of each other” since they have their own rooms, which visibly interests Chicago (whom she eventually kisses).
Some song lyrics are suggestive, such as those we hear in the tune “Ignition.” Someone crudely quips that Beca must be having her period when she refuses to produce a song entitled “Bend Over.” She is referred to as “sweet cheeks” by one of the announcers, who also says he got footage of “a little bit of … panties.” Someone comments that she intends to pursue a career in the Air Force, now that they “accept gay people.” There’s a double entendre gag about the women being in a “sea of seamen.”
Aubrey says her father “basically killed Osama bin Laden.” Fat Amy refers to her father as having used C-4 explosives.
[Spoiler Warning] After Fat Amy finds that her father has sent men to abduct the Bellas, she threatens, “I will kill you.” Fat Amy beats up a few men along the way, twisting the nipples of one and knocking out the rest during one pursuit scene. She even has a knife fight with one of those antagonists (though no one is seriously injured), and an explosion follows.
A yacht is named the “Fat Dingo B–ch.” We hear several s-words, as well as uses of “b–ch” and “h—.” We also hear insults such as “slutty,” “idiot” and “stupid.” Emily tells the girls to “pick up their t-ts” and says that during their performance they “sucked b-lls.” Someone says she could “crap herself.”
Various scenes show the Barden Bellas, as well as other characters, drinking beer, liquor and wine.
Fat Amy’s father tries to reconnect with her for selfish, manipulative reasons. One scene shows Chloe, who’s working as a veterinarian, with her hand in a cow’s backside. One character mockingly refers to a group of woman as looking “like they were breastfed.” A competition announcer makes sexist comments about women not being as intelligent as men. One scene shows a woman and man licking the same Starburst wrapper.
In a recent interview with Elle, actress Anna Kendrick (who plays Beca) described how those involved with this franchise have bonded while filming these three movies. “We got especially close. … I just feel so proud. It’s such a diverse group. I think I didn’t fully appreciate until the third one how rare it is to work with ten women from such different backgrounds. We’re close in age, but we have such different points of view and such different senses of humor. I feel very lucky.”
It’s truly a precious thing to form such close friendships with people who are different than you. And while those tight, largely positive bonds are evident in the latest Pitch Perfect film, so are a variety of other things. Pitch Perfect 3 has some funny moments, to be sure. But too often, they come at these characters’ expense (especially in the case of Rebel Wilson’s Fat Amy). The humor here is often loaded with sexual innuendo and crass vulgarity, too. So despite this film’s undeniable feel-good moments, it’s still quite a ways from perfect.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).