is a 2012 musical comedy film directed by Jason Moore. The screenplay was written by Kay Cannon, loosely adapted from the book of the same name by Mickey Rapkin. The film stars Anna Kendrick
, Rebel Wilson
, Skylar Astin, Anna Camp
, Brittany Snow
, Ester Dean, Ben Platt, and Adam DeVine.
The story follows Beca Mitchel, an aspiring music producer who is forced to go to Barden University by her father, who is a teacher there. He agrees to fund Beca's move to L.A. if she agrees to give college a chance and join at least one club. She ends up joining the Barden Bellas, the school's all female a cappella group. There, she is introduced to the world of collegiate a cappella as the Bellas fight to defeat their all-male rival group, the Treblemakers.
There is a sequel coming out in 2015, with several of the previous cast members reprising their roles. It follows the Bellas and the Troublemakers as they compete in the A Cappella world championships, hoping to be the first American team to win (which has never happened because the entire world hates America).
Now has a Character Sheet
This film provides examples of:
- A Cappella: Naturally. Lots of music without any instrumental accompaniment.
- Accidental Misnaming: Luke often calls Beca "Becky".
- Added Alliterative Appeal: By the end of the film, the group can be described as Beca and the Barden Bellas.
- Beca when she raps.
- Aerith and Bob: Gail Abernathy-McKadden and John Smith.
- Alpha Bitch: The previous leader of the Bellas.
- Always Someone Better: Most people seem to consider the Treblemakers this to the Bellas.
- Ambiguously Bi: Chloe seems this way toward Beca.
- Beca, in a deleted scene, says that she tried to french her cousin when she was a kid.
- Appropriated Appellation: Fat Amy calls herself Fat Amy "so twig bitches like you don't do it behind my back."
- Arc Symbol:
- The Bellas' "hands-in" Symbolizes how united they are as a team as seen as how successfully they perform at different points in the film.
- The Breakfast Club CD for Beca and Jesse's story arc.
- Arc Words:
- "Magic" for Benji.
- "Endings are the best part!"
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "Chloe, look at you. You're a mess, you're unfocused, you're unreliable, and your breath smells like egg. Like all the time."
- Artistic License – Linguistics: Beca claims that Vader is German for father after saying The Empire Strikes Back was predictable because of that. Vader is actually Dutch for father, not German. Vater means father in German (though that's pronounced farter).
- Ascended Fanboy:
- Benji becomes this In-Universe.
- Fat Amy is a bit of an Ascended Fangirl, in that she's outgoing but too shy to ask for a solo, as well as the dialogue between her and Beca at aca-initiation night:
- Awesome Aussie: Fat Amy. She claims to have fought a crocodile and a dingo at the same time.
- Bechdel Test: This movie passes with flying colors.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: Lily often says disturbing things.
- Big Beautiful Woman / Fat Girl: Fat Amy kind of alternates between these two throughout the film.
- Black Dude Dies First: Well, kicked out of the band anyway. Kori, one of two black girls that passed the audition, was kicked out before even making it to day two for sleeping with a Treble. The second girl who was kicked out at least got a few lines before she was dumped.
- Blond Brunette Redhead: The Bellas with Aubrey, Fat Amy and Jessica being the blondes, Beca, Stacie, Lilly, Ashley and Denise being the brunettes and Chloe being the redhead. Cynthia-Rose is a black woman (who naturally has dark hair) who dyes her hair red.
- Brainless Beauty: Stacie has shades of this to go with her Really Gets Around nature.
- Break the Cutie: Benji when he doesn't get into the Treblemakers and listens to their party and, surprisingly, Aubrey when she talks about her dad.
- Brick Joke: The Barden rape whistle given to Beca in the first scene. Comes back when Cynthia Rose, the lesbian Bella, is wrestling with Stacie.
- Call Back: You may have missed it, but when the Bellas find out they've got into the finals when Chloe walks in, Amy yells "Shalom!", which is, according to her, "not a word".
- Aubrey's three-point "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Beca after the semi-finals is reminiscent of the speech the Bellas' former leader gave Chloe at the beginning.
- Bologna Barb is seen at the first Riff Off with the a cappella group B.U. Harmonics
- Casanova Wannabe: Bumper, in between insulting Fat Amy he still hints towards sex.
- Cat Fight: After Beca leaves the group, this is what happens.
- Celebrity Paradox: One of the other a cappella groups heard in the film is the real group Green Envy but Greg, one of the Trebles, was the musical director of this group during his time at college.
- Cheaters Never Prosper: The group that won second place in the regional finals is later disqualified for having a high school student on their team, thus allowing the Bellas to make the finals.
- Chekhov's Hobby: Beca's love of remixing songs and Lilly hanging-out in a beat-boxing crowd becomes useful in the finals.
- Chekhov's Lecture: John's comment in the beginning that it's taken so long for all-girl a cappella groups to make it because girls generally have difficulty hitting the bass notes. This stops being a problem for the Bellas after Chloe's surgery.
- Chekhov's Skill: Stacie's ballet moves gets useful in the finals.
- Club Stub: The Bellas.
- College Radio: Beca and Jesse work there.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Bellas = blue, yellow and white, Treblemakers = different shades of red, particularly maroon and crimson.
- Combat Sadomasochist: One of the older a cappella group members is this.
- Control Freak: Aubrey fits this to a T. The film largely deconstructs this, showing how her Control Freak tendencies are a hindrance to the group's success, as her insistence on doing the same tired old numbers at every show causes the competition judges to turn against the Bellas. When she finally backs off at the end, the Bellas are a lot better for it.
- *Cough* Snark *Cough*: Fat Amy does this a few times.
- The Cover Changes The Gender:
- Actually averted. "No Diggity" isn't changed, and "Hey Mickey" doesn't go far enough. Also averted with pretty much every song performed, even "Don't Stop The Music".
- Well they would be disqualified for getting the lyrics wrong at the Riff Off
- Actually, in Stacie's little bit of BoyzIIMen's "I'll Make Love To You" she gets them wrong.
- Furthermore, "Pool Mashup" features two love songs about women sung by women. They didn't change the pronouns at all.
- Dad the Veteran / Drill Sergeant Nasty: Implied to be the case with Aubrey's father.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Chloe implies that "Titanium" is her soundtrack for this (successfully creeping out Beca).
Chloe: That song really builds. (wink)
- Dating Catwoman: Aubrey considers dating a Treblemaker this, and is firmly against it. note
- Deadpan Snarker: Beca is this right when we meet her.
- Department of Redundancy Department / Circular Definition: Chloe telling the group about her nodes.
"I am living with nodes. But I am a survivor. I just have to pull back. Because I am limited. Because I have nodes."
- Did The Research: Against all odds, vocal fold nodules are actually presented realistically, as they can eventually destroy a person's ability to sing. Even Chloe's reaction.
- Minor Injury Overreaction indeed. After being told she wouldn't be able to sing above G#—maybe, ever—she sang a high A and went five semitones up to D with no problems during the final number.
- The fact Brittany Snow actually does have nodes may have contributed to the accurate portrayal of a singer with nodes, being one and all. Clearly, she can still sing. The 'overreaction' may have just been part of that: what is she without singing? Probably the same for Chloe, too.
- Disability Superpower: A minor example. Chloe's vocal node surgery eliminates the top end of her range, but drastically expands the bottom end.
- Disqualification-Induced Victory: The girls are able to progress to Nationals because the soloist of one of the qualifying groups is too young.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Beca admits that Chloe's naked body makes it hard for her to concentrate
- Double Entendre: If you look at the parallel scene in Lady Windermere's Fan to Chloe/Beca's interaction at Hood Night where Lord Darlington tells Lady Windermere (at the start of the play) he thinks they'll be "great friends" and then skip to where she tells him (upon seeing her husband the woman everyone believes he is having an affair with talking) "I want a friend tonight, Lord Darlington: I didn't know I would want one so soon." you can see what the admission at the start meant,i.e. LOVER. Can't we, Chloe?
- Duet Bonding: Chloe sort of forces Beca into this by singing in the shower.
- Establishing Character Moment: The entire first act showcases Beca's talent at creating mashups and remixes, which winds up becoming Chekhov's Hobby when Aubrey finally recognizes her talents and lets her write the Bellas' arrangement for the finals.
- Fan Disservice: The Tone Hangers provide a creepy contrast to the young, sexy a cappella groups.
- Fiery Redhead: Mostly averted: Chloe is very sweet but has no problem attacking people when in a rage.
- The Film of the Book
- Flat Character: Kimmy Jin
- Foreshadowing: Most of Benji's scenes involve some kind of magic trick. Cue "I Got the Magic".
- Subverted, really, because he only had one week to get down a lot of stuff, which becomes a lot easier once you only have to remember dance moves that you've probably already seen(remember he's at least heard the Treble's version), rather than an entire song.
- The previous year's leader of the Bellas makes the unusual note that Chloe's breath smells like eggs all the time. Fitting for a bad enough infection in one's throat.
- Averted with Beca's dismissal of how predictable movies' endings are which seems to be this but ultimately comes to nothing.
- Luke airs Beca's 'Bulletproof' mix on the campus radio, later that night at regionals guess what song she chooses to break the Bella's routine.
- French Maid: Well, maids in bikinis anyway. There are a couple of girls in revealing clothing rather unenthusiastically dusting the Treble's (frat?) house while they lounge in the hot tub.
- They are watching the "dusting" on their tv.
- Freudian Excuse: Implied with Beca.
- Aubrey's father is hinted to be the reason she's such a Control Freak.
- Fridge Brilliance: 'Bellas' means 'pretty girls' in Italian, probably intentional In-Universe, so Aubrey has reason to want "bikini-ready" girls, and Howie (of Sigma Beta Theta) would be "expecting the hot Bellas".
- Funny Background Event: Not quite in the background, but right before the Bellas' initial performance, Chloe (after getting chewed out) surreptitiously checks her breath.
- Gang of Hats: Non-criminal version. Each a cappella group has something that make it unique.
- The Bellas are all femaile.
- The Treblemakers are all male.
- The Harmonics specialize in Madonna songs.
- The High Notes are all stoners.
- Sockapella sings using sock puppets.
- Gay Percentage: Fat Amy points out semi-correctly that since there's more than 10 Bellas, there has to be a lesbian.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The film loves to play with this trope.
- Jesse appears to mouth "Fuck me" in shock when Beca starts to sing "Don't You Forget About Me".
- The Bellas' dance routine in the finals takes an interesting turn when Fat Amy takes the lead.
- The Sockapellas rendition of Lily Allen's "Fuck You".
- I'm sorry, was Chloe asking for Beca's help masturbating in the shower there? Lesbi-onest...
- Once Stacie starts doing provocative moves during auditions, Unicycle looked down to his pants and covered his crotch, apparently having a hard-on.
- After scolding the Bellas about dating members of the Trebles, Aubrey openly said that they shouldn't allow the rival group to penetrate them. Amy calls her out on this.
- When Gail commented that seeing the trebles perform freshens-up the downtown, John openly said "Can I help"?
- Ghost Extras: Seven women on the poster, but there are ten Bellas. Lampshaded when Aubrey tells two Bellas that it was like they hadn't been there at all this year. (Jessica, Denise and Ashley are the ones not included on the poster.)
- Good Parents: Beca's dad.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: The guy Chloe is with in the shower is gleefully grinning at Beca, heavily suggesting either this or a desire for a threesome. Either way, both girls were not having it.
- Grand Romantic Gesture: Beca and the Barden Bellas singing Don't You Forget About Me as part of the Bella's Finals performance.
- Happy Ending: And they're lampshaded enough, too.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Chloe and Aubrey are implied to be this to an extent, as they are the only seniors in the group and Chloe mentions being good friends with Aubrey for years. Things get tense near the end, but they work things out.
- Hufflepuff House: The stoner and Madonna a cappella groups.
- Hypocritical Humor: "What a nerd alert! Okay guys, let's match pitch."
"Just so you know, I'm not a total nerd: I'm also super into close-up magic!"
- I Call Him "Mr. Happy": Alluded to. At one point, Stacie points to her crotch and says "he's a hunter", much to Beca's bemusement.
Beca: You call it a dude?
- Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: When Mary Elise is kicked off the Bellas for being Treble-boned, she is forced to turn in her scarf and leave the room, taking her chair with her.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Bumper nails Fat Amy in the chest with a burrito from a pretty good distance from a moving bus. Say what you will about Bumper, but that's pretty damned impressive.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Beca's going off-script during one of the competitions makes sense, given that the routine is dull and Aubrey needs to be taken down a peg. However, Aubrey is right in pointing out that she (Beca) had not only sabotaged her (Aubrey), but the rest of the Barden Bellas as well (many of whom take a cappella seriously, and have not wronged Beca in the slightest).
- Karma Houdini: Bumper. He hits Fat Amy with a burrito, abandons the Treble Makers, and is pretty awful towards everyone, and he goes to LA to back-up sing for John Mayer.
- The Lancer: Played with. Chloe is officially the Number Two of the Bellas, while Beca, despite being The Hero, is the one who challenges Aubrey's leadership.
- Letting Her Hair Down: This happens in the last performance. Towards the ending, Aubrey actually lets her hair down.
- Logo Joke: The standard Universal fanfare is replaced with an a cappella version at the start of the film. This is not the only Universal film to do this. Coincidentally, one of the other ones to do this also has Anna Kendrick in it.
- Love Triangle: Jesse seems to think he is in competition for Becca with the radio station manager despite the two having a fairly professional relationship.
- Lovable Nerd: Benji made his half of the room into a Star Wars shrine, loves magic, and is a fawning Treble Makers fan.
- Male Gaze: During the opening, the camera heavily focused on the Bellas' butt and legs during their performance. The previous leader is also seen stacking her boobs before said performance. There's also a lot of focus on Stacie and Aubrey's legs.
- Meaningful Background Event: Lilly is seen hanging out with a hip-hop crowd near the end of the film.
- Misery Builds Character: Aubrey leans toward this concept.
- Missing Mom: No mention is made of where Beca's mother is, though it's revealed in conversation with her father that her parents are divorced.
- Mr. Fanservice: Luke the DJ at one point lifts his shirt up to reveal a glorious set of abs. Beca seems delighted.
- Ms. Fanservice: Stacie is put to a lot of Male Gaze.
- Becca is involved in several blatant cleavage shots.
- Musical World Hypothesis: Diegetic.
- Nausea Fuel: In-Universe example - when Aubrey's sick for the first time there is a cut scene to two of the older Bellas holding their mouths like they're about to throw up at seeing someone else do so.
- New Parent Nomenclature Problem: While we never see Becca and her stepmother interact, Becca is obviously resentful since she calls her "the step-monster."
- Nice Guy: Jesse, Benji and Beca's Dad. Chloe is a Gender Flip version of this.
- Number Two: Chloe to the Bellas, Donald to the Trebles.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Fat Amy. Turns out her real name is Patricia.
Aubrey: What's your name?
Fat Amy: Fat Amy.
Aubrey: You call yourself Fat Amy?
Fat Amy: Yeah, so twig bitches like you don't do it behind my back.
- Opposing Sports Team: The Treblemakers are an a cappella version.
- Overly Long Gag: Fat Amy's holding out pitch and then dancing.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: The Treblemakers are described as being the coolest people, "short of actual cool people".
- A Protagonist Shall Lead Them: Aubrey practically steps down as The Leader of the Bellas before the finals and gives way for Beca to lead them. After she graduates, Beca officially becomes the Bellas' leader.
- Punny Name: Most of the a cappella groups who aren't the Bellas: Treblemakers (trouble makers), High Notes (they like marijuana) Sockapella (they sing with sock puppets), and Minstrel Cycle are just a few.
- Putting the Band Back Together: After the Bellas learn that the team that qualified for Finals ahead of them was disqualified for cheating, we get a montage of the various singers getting contacted, and brief glimpses into whatever they are up to (including Fat Amy having a pool party with several hunks).
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Bellas.
- Reality Ensues: Beca tries to spice up the tired routine mid-performance - the audience picks up on her attempt, but it's also perceived as an unpolished stunt, and it throws the other girls off their game.
- Really Gets Around: Stacie, played for laughs.
Stacie: I have a lot of sex.
Fat Amy: Yeah, we know.
Stacie: ...Only 'cause I just told you.
- While not as blatant as Stacie, Chloe has no problems hooking up with two different guys. She's also very fond of Beca.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Aubrey gives the girls one after an embarrassing performance in front of a fraternity. She gets one herself later.
- Rebel Wilson does Something Funny: Room was left for Rebel Wilson and Adam DeVine to do a lot of improv, which most of their interactions ultimately are. The rest of the cast, though, did have some freedom with their lines: just see the aca-inappropriate outtakes. Notably, Skylar Astin added a bunch of lines during song performances to the point they were expected and a lot made it into the film.
- Performed to the T as Anna Camp and Brittany Snow can be heard corpsing at the mermaid dancing, and Camp nearly does at the horizontal running (though it's not unbelievable that anyone would laugh, in the situations).
- Running Gag: Several.
- Aubrey's projectile vomiting.
- Stacie... being Stacie.
- Cynthia-Rose's crush on Stacie.
- Lily's bizarre whisperings.
- Several of the girls at several different points in the movie are seen fluffing their breasts. Sometimes it seems to be for empowerment, sometimes to win over the crowd, but it is always appreciated.
- Serenade Your Lover: Beca pulls off the Group version of this, by working Don't You Forget About Me into the Bellas' Finals performance.
- Earlier, Jesse does this to her during the Riff Off with Feels Like the First Time in that he somewhat sings it towards her. She cuts him off with No Diggity.
- Also, some would argue that Beca and Chloe/Aubrey singing Just the way you are and Just a dream is this, and maybe a Call Back to the Jesse/ Beca moment.
- Serious Business: A cappella. Very much so. Aubrey in particular takes the whole thing WAY too seriously.
- She's Got Legs: Stacy frequently shows her nice pair by constantly wearing short-shorts. The Training Montage shows that Aubrey has a nice pair as well. Fortunately, the movie poster (see the page image) was generous and displayed them front-and-center.
- Shirtless Scene: Luke, the college station DJ has a lovely moment of this. Beca is appreciative.
- Unicycle, one of The Treblemakers, has one in a wide shot after their final performance.
- Unicycle actually does this a few times throughout the movie. He apparently thinks of himself as Mr. Fanservice.
- Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?
- Apparently the only reason to go to college is to make friends and have activities. This is the lesson Becca's father, a Barden University teacher, tries to instill in her.
- When the Bellas get in the finals Aubry insists that they skip all classes so they can spend all their time rehearsing.
- Shout-Out: Barden College has a Quidditch club.
- Possibly to High School Musical. The audition scene is reminiscent of the play auditions from HSM.
- The introduction for the Trebles at the Regional competition is ripped directly out of Bandslam.
- The "Party in the USA" scene is very reminiscent of the "Tiny Dancer" scene in Almost Famous, and every other film where they 'forcibly' drag someone into an activity they secretly love and end up bonding over...
- "Don't you forget about me" seems to have remarkable relationship-affirming powers, the ending basically being that of Easy A, where we have the Other Tucker wooing, weirdly, Skeeter Phelan with it.
- There seems to be an acappella group at the Finals whose entire theme is Arrested Development - note the song choice ("The Final Countdown") and their khaki/Hawaiian shirt outfits.
- Shower Scene: The infamous Duet Bonding.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Chloe delivers an awesome one to Aubrey.
- Shrinking Violet: Lily.
- Shoulders-Up Nudity: Done to imply nudity in the women's shower.
- Shower Of Love: When Beca goes to take a shower in the girl's locker room, two pairs of feet, belonging to a man and a woman, can be seen in a shower stall. The girl in question is Chloe, and this is the only way we know that she's not solely into Beca.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Between Bumper and Fat Amy. We certainly see the "slap slap" part of the equation on screen, but the kiss is alluded to when Amy reveals she has Bumper's cell number but can't provide a reason for having it.
- The "Songs about Sex" portion of the Riff-Off has this vibe going between the Bellas and the Treblemakers.
- Smug Snake: Bumper, in spades.
- Something Else Also Rises: It's subtle, but during the "Songs About Sex" part of the Riff-Off, Unicycle puts his unicycle between his legs (and he's certainly not riding it).
- Spell My Name with an "S": Beca is often spelled as Becca, Jesse as Jessie, and Stacie as Stacy.
- Spiritual Successor: To the original Bring It On. Try to tell me Aubrey's aca-everything is not inspired by that.
- Stress Vomit: Aubrey throws up over the entire audience during a group performance. Later on she does it again as part of a particular hilarious argument.
- Take That: At Glee, of all things, and delivered by Christopher Mintz-Plasse during the first audition scene.
Tommy: But if you think this is just some high school club where you can sing and dance your way through any social issue or confused sexuality, you have come to the wrong place. There is none of that here. That's high school. This shit is real life. NOW. don't just bring it, sing it, and let's do this.
- Twice, even. During the Riff-Off, one of the categories on the wheel is "Songs Ruined by Glee".
- And of course, the "discovering in the shower" scene, taken waaaay over the top by Chloe.
- Interestingly, Skylar Astin (Jesse) later guest starred in an episode of Glee, "City of Angels".
- The Team: The Bellas;
- Team Hand Stack: With a group pitch-match instead of a cheer. Last year's Bellas did this effortlessly. This year's Bellas often don't know how to break the right way. "On three or after three?"
- Technician Versus Performer: This is a conflict between Aubrey and Beca. Beca simply wants to be spontaneous and have fun by remixing songs while Aubrey is trying to be successful using their original set list from the previous year and being conservative. To be fair to each Beca is actually into producing music and therefore is naturally gifted at remixing while Aubrey was originally more of a performer but after throwing up on stage is trying to play it conservative.
- Terrible Interviewees Montage: The audition scene.
- Token Evil Teammate: Most of the Treblemakers are stand-up guys, but Bumper is a complete dick, going as far as to abandon them before the finals.
- Touché: During the finale, Gail tells John (through a tooth-clenched smile, no less) that he doubted the Bellas' chances mainly because he is a misogynist. John readily agrees without skipping a beat.
- Those Two Guys: The commentators, John and Gail.
- Training Montage: The Bellas, set to Nicki Minaj's "Starships."
- Transparent Closet: Cynthia Rose, according to Fat Amy and Aubrey.
- Subverted: when the Bellas are revealing their secrets, Cynthia admits that she has a gambling addiction that arose after she broke up with her girlfriend (who is apparently one of the other Bellas). She was never keeping her lesbianism a secret.
- True Blue Femininity: The Bellas' primary color. Their uniform is colored Navy blue, while The Leader's pitch pipe is colored Baby blue.
- Twofer Token Minority: Cynthia Rose is black and a lesbian.
- Two First Names: Stacy Conrad and Cynthia-Rose. Also as weird as it sounds, Bumper Allen.
- Typecasting: Averted, as one may assume Brittany Snow may have been better fitted playing Aubrey.
- Unfortunate Names: Lampshaded.
Gail: I remember singing it with my own a cappella group.
John: What group was that, Gail?
Gail: The Minstrel Cycles.
John: Well, that's an unfortunate name.
- The Unreveal: Parodied. During the 'confessions' scene, Cynthia Rose is expected to come out as a lesbian, only to admit to having a gambling problem...which she developed after she broke up with her girlfriend.
- Verbal Tic: Aubrey has a habit of adding "aca" in front of words, such as "aca-awesome", "aca-people", "aca-bitches", etc. The others pick up the habit as well.
- Vocal Dissonance: After Chloe gets her nodes removed, she (a former soprano) is able to hit the really low, guttural bass notes, much to everyone's surprise.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Aubrey does this twice.
- Plus the video of the first time.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: For Aubrey, her father. Her need to please carries over to the previous leader of the Bellas, who is nothing but abusive toward her.
- Beca's dad, to a lesser extent.
- When I'm Gone Song: "When I'm Gone", aka "Cups", which became a huge hit for Anna Kendrick. The singer of the song is urging the listener to come along.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Seriously, Bumper?
- World of Buxom: A lot of the Bellas appear to fill out at least a C cup at the smallest and tend to show off their assets.