The Bock’s Office: ‘Pitch Perfect’ — Third verse, same as the first |

The Bock’s Office: ‘Pitch Perfect’ — Third verse, same as the first

The Barden Bellas reunite in "Pitch Perfect 3." The movie is about a women's a cappella group who get back together for one more performance tour after college.

When you're seeing your favorite musical act perform, you know it's not long before they start breaking out the greatest hits. With only five years in existence for its franchise, perhaps it's too soon for "Pitch Perfect 3" to revert to the fundamentals, but it's still a show worth watching.

Life after college has not been kind to the Barden Bellas.

The members of the women's a cappella group have had a hard dose of reality upon graduation, none of them finding the kind of success or satisfaction they were hoping for in terms of careers.

The one good thing they still have is the memory of singing together, even though a potential reunion doesn't exactly go the way they planned.

But, the ensemble of best friends won't let failure define them, using their connections for one more shot at stardom as part of the USO tour, performing for American troops stationed in Europe.

Still, even overseas, the group's problems don't exactly fade away, as personal and professional discord among the Bellas threatens to cut short their precious time together.

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Anna Kendrick is always a welcome sight and sound as Becca, the de facto leader of the Bellas, exasperated at being surrounded by the girls she hates to admit she loves dearly.

Even so, her patience is wearing thin after quitting her position as a record producer, the dream job she's fancied turning into a nightmare thanks to a talentless rapper (Moises Arias) forcing her to quit to keep her artistic integrity.

Sharing a postage stamp-sized New York apartment with friends Chloe and Fat Amy (Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson) is only made better by the former's persistent whining about making little progress getting into veterinary school and the latter's ill-advised Amy Winehouse tribute street performance.

As you'd expect, Wilson steals the show once again as Amy, competing with fellow Bella Aubrey (Anna Camp) for the most pressing daddy issues when her roustabout father walks back into her life.

If you never knew John Lithgow could do an authentic Australian accent, you'll wonder why he doesn't do Down Under dialogue in every movie.

The rest of the Bellas are there, too, not that they get much of a chance to shine other than perpetual oddball, low-talker and human beat-box Lilly (Hana Mae Lee) and junior member Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), who mostly serves as a verbal punching bag for Fat Amy.

If you haven't gotten used to the pecking order by now, you must not have seen the first two parts of this trilogy, the conclusion to which feels like a coda to a song that already was longer than it needed to be.

The story is sparse as can be apart from the plot points that have already defined the Bellas' previous misadventures — gather up the gals despite many misgivings; find out that there are actually other talented groups to provide competition; rock it anyway.

That, and a pair of a cappella commentators (John Michael Higgins, Elizabeth Banks) who still haven't figured out that their niche market really doesn't exist.

Apart from a literal explosive start, there's little we haven't seen or heard in the first two movies, but what has made these chick flicks so appealing is the group of young women who play off each other so well whether singing or in everyday life. The Bellas may be a fictitious group, but the actresses who portray them never hit a wrong note even when they have little material to work with comedically.

Apart from the setlist, there are few changes in "Pitch Perfect 3" from what's worked in the past, but that's also what makes it work as an arc about performers who mature just a tiny bit each time they hit the stage, all the while providing plentiful gal pal laughs and tears for the fans who adore them.

It's an unnecessary and hastily assembled encore, no doubt, yet if you loved their antics before, you may as well stick with them to the end.

And, hopefully, if there's a fourth film, we can do without the swarm of bees and fire at the after-party.

“Pitch Perfect 3,” rated PG-13

Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

Running time: 93 minutes

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow and Anna Camp

Now playing at Steamboat Springs’ Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas and Craig’s West Theatre.