Pitch Perfect 3 review: Despite impressive vocal arrangements, the unimaginative plot puts paid to the trilogy's swansong

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The Barden Bellas performing for the troops

Back in 2012, Pitch Perfect hit just the right note. It rode the wave of modern musicals and accapella pop mash ups made popular by Glee, then added smart comedy talents like Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson to the mix to create a cult hit. Then came Pitch Perfect 2 where the Bellas went on to compete in the World Championships and the cast just about kept time.

Pitch Perfect 3 – the franchise’s swansong, we hope – once again proves the law of diminishing returns. In the third instalment, we catch up with the Barden Bellas to discover they’re all old and sad. By this, it means they’re nearly 30 and employed as a music producer or working towards a veterinary degree.

So they reunite to restore meaning to their lives and join a USO tour to entertain the troops abroad alongside – gasp! – bands who play instruments.

The Bellas inexplicably see these musicians as a threat, despite there being no element of competition to the proceedings. This whole dramatic device is soon forgotten about in favour of a bizarre spy plot involving Fat Amy and her father (John Lithgow with a comedy Aussie accent).

Nowhere near as edgy as it thinks it is, the whole thing is held together by lacklustre slapstick set pieces. Even the tunes, which include an impressive arrangement of Toxic by Britney Spears, can’t lift this stinker. Acca-ppaling.