American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
You have to hand it to "Pitch Perfect." It's a twentysomething song-and-dance movie built around rival a cappella groups. That's more exciting than dueling string quartets, I suppose — but no, the quartets would be performing better material. In the world of this film's Barden College, a cappella seems to rank above football in extracurricular activities, and as nearly as I recall, the only character ever seen in a classroom is Beca's father, the teacher.
He teaches philosophy and despairs of his daughter Beca (Anna Kendrick), who dreams of moving to L.A. and making it in show business. He makes a deal: She sticks out college for one year, and then she can go to L.A. if she still wants to. Oh, and she must join at least one afterschool activity.
This is some school. On Activity Day, a male a cappella group poses carefully on the campus and bursts periodically into song. There is also a female group, the Bellas, although they're under a cloud after their lead singer suffered an unfortunate attack of vomiting in the national finals. And not just ordinary vomiting, but Movie Projectile Vomiting, which in its velocity and gallons of content resembles an attack by an alien.
Beca is recruited into the Bellas by its star, Chloe (Brittany Snow), while they are both naked in a shower, which makes this more intriguing than your average a cappella recruitment. Well, at least it's an afterschool activity. Soon she finds herself up against Aubrey (Anna Camp), the group leader who has rigid opinions about their performances.