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<Movie Details
24 July 2013 by Tim Evans

It would have been all too easy for this teen comedy celebrating the cut-throat world of college a cappella competitions to be Glee-fully off note.

That it's one of the year's best comedies is largely down to a whip-smart script by Kay Cannon (30 Rock) and a lovely performance from Anna Kendrick as the odd-girl-out who's cajoled into an all-girl singing group.

Arriving at Barden University with her hopes of heading to LA to follow a music career dashed, Beca takes a job stacking CDs for the college DJ and deflecting the attentions of fellow student Jesse (Skylar Astin).

She also reluctantly finds herself recruited by Chloe (Snow), the inflexibly traditionalist leader of acoustic singers The Bellas, whose reflex vomiting hastened their exit from the national a cappella competition.

Keen to exorcise their carrot-flecked ghost, she's signed up a whole new batch of Bellas, including the generously-proportioned Fat Amy (Bridesmaids' Rebel Wilson), mute freestyler Lilly (Hana Mae Lee) and nymphomaniac musical dynamo Stacie (Alexis Knapp).

However, Aubrey sticks firmly to the programme, outlaws any music pre-Noughties and will have no truck with Beca's inspired mash-ups of Jessy J, erm, The Proclaimers and Simple Minds.

With his feature debut, Avenue Q director Jason Moore has concocted a joyously infectious teen comedy where attention to detail - from the terrificially worked acoustic covers to the steady stream of zingers - puts this up there with Mean Girls and Freaky Friday.

Kendrick's alt-girl good-naturedly holds it all together, leaving room for Australian star Wilson to really shine with some inspired improv while comedy nuggets are strewn elsewhere, particularly with Elizabeth Banks' bitter competition commentator.

Taking the comedy in darker directions is Mae Lee's oriental enigma who - during a girlie confessional - whispers "I ate my twin when in the womb."

However, it's Wilson who gets the biggest helping of one-liners when she explains she nicknamed herself Fat Amy " so twig bitches like you don't do it behind my back".