Sorry, ladies, but it's high time the Bellas left the stage: Pitch Perfect 3 is decidedly imperfect, writes BRIAN VINER

Pitch Perfect 3 (12A)

Verdict: Decidedly imperfect 

Rating:

The first two Pitch Perfect films were great fun. In fact, I bestowed four stars on the last one, in May 2015, and wrote that it was ‘pitched perfectly at any audience craving a couple of hours of unremitting, occasionally risqué fun’.

They should have left it there. Pitch Perfect 3, like so many movies with the dreaded 3 after the title, is a misfire.

Like Christmas leftovers on the third or fourth day, the energy of the first two films feels as if it’s been microwaved, warmed up hurriedly and a bit half-heartedly in vain search of former glories.

They should have left it after doing the sequel - Pitch Perfect 3, like so many movies with the dreaded 3 after the title, is a misfire. Above Rebel Wilson (left) and Anna Kendrick

They should have left it after doing the sequel - Pitch Perfect 3, like so many movies with the dreaded 3 after the title, is a misfire. Above Rebel Wilson (left) and Anna Kendrick

Moreover, even in the last film a little Rebel Wilson went a long way. Here, there’s way, way too much of her, indeed she pretty much takes over from Anna Kendrick as the main character, which counts as a major misjudgment on somebody’s part.

Wilson is a charismatic performer, undoubtedly, but her steady supply of off-colour one-liners somehow suck the charm out of the exercise.

As for the story, the champion a cappella singing group, the Bellas, have now left college and are all trying, with varying degrees of failure, to make their way in the world. Fat Amy (Wilson) is developing a tribute act called Fat Amy Winehouse, which is no funnier on paper than it is on screen.

Then they get a chance to re-form at a U.S. military base in Spain. The competitive element is reintroduced by a famous DJ, looking for someone to open his show.

Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins again play the duo willing the Bellas to fail, but dramatically feel entirely superfluous.

And John Lithgow pops up with an almost-credible Australian accent playing Fat Amy’s rascally, estranged father, whose nefarious schemes eventually explain the film’s opening scene: an explosion on a super-yacht.

Above, Rebel Wilson has played Fat Amy in all three Pitch Perfect movies. She's a charismatic performer, undoubtedly, but her steady supply of off-colour one-liners somehow suck the charm out of the exercise

Above, Rebel Wilson has played Fat Amy in all three Pitch Perfect movies. She's a charismatic performer, undoubtedly, but her steady supply of off-colour one-liners somehow suck the charm out of the exercise

The action sweeps from Spain to Italy and finally to the French Riviera.

Whether it will sweep audiences with it is doubtful, however.

Kendrick, Hailee Steinfeld and co do their best with some increasingly desperate material, and there are some lively musical routines and the odd sharp gag, but just like those fourth-day Christmas leftovers, this should never have reached the table.

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.