Lesbehonest. Pitch Perfect, an uproarious musical comedy promoted as "[m]ean girls, sweet girls and weird girls whose only thing in common is how good they sound when they sing together," hits a sour note with its "Butch Bass," lesbian Cynthia Rose.
Tomboy Cynthia Rose shines as a lesbian acapella singer performing for the Barden Bellas. But, despite the film's insistence upon putting Cynthia Rose's sexuality at center stage, the talent of entertainer Ester Dean is not eclipsed by it - until she tries, and fails, at propositioning the straight Bellas for a couple of cheap laughs.
In the tradition of the funnywomen from Bridesmaids, the cast of Pitch Perfect aren't afraid of "going there" with barf, cannibalistic fetal twins and Fat Amy, brilliantly acted by the hysterical Rebel Wilson. They are at times inappropriate, politically-incorrect and get underneath the heavily-moisturized skin of the Bellas' neurotic leader, Aubrey, as played by actress Anna Camp. However, as screenwriter Kay Cannon's script belted out one shockingly offensive gag right after the other, I felt my defenses weaken and became more invested in these offbeat characters.
Gross-out humor isn't Pitch Perfect's only highlight, though. Even the sensitive subject of self-segregation on college campuses gets skewered by the roommate of actress Anna Kendrick's edgy protagonist, Beca. Despite her best efforts, Beca can't relate to her taciturn Korean roommate, Kimmy Jin, as the absurdities of not giving other ethnicities the time of day are laid bare.
Cleverly performed by actress Jinhee Joung, the character of Kimmy Jin can be racist, and still not be a caricature. So, when Pitch Perfect addresses Cynthia Rose's sexuality, it surprised me that film director James Moore couldn't create a more nuanced character for Dean. Instead of stopping at depicting Cynthia Rose as perhaps a little too "touchy-feely," Moore turns her loose upon the Bellas as a rampant sexual predator.
Once she's caught on camera gazing a little too fondly at another Bellas' bosom, it's on for Cynthia Rose, and she can't turn it off. Her idea of CPR after Fat Amy gets "shot" by a rival, all-male acapella group, and attempt to "shield" a Bella from another character's projectile vomiting, are epic fails. Eventually, I felt a sense of creeping discomfort latch onto me as tightly as Cynthia Rose's hands might latch onto the breasts of another Bella. Instead of landing punchlines, Cynthia Rose's lesbianism launched into one.
Then again, if it's alright for the UK boy band One Direction to snatch at each other's crotches onstage, what's a little sexual harassment between friends?
Even pop star Katy Perry isn't shy about kissing girls as a heterosexual. She allegedly likes it too. However, I'm not expecting either party to assert their heterosexuality for me by vigorously humping the legs of whichever attractive man or woman happens by. Call me heteronormative, but I accept these celebrities as straight until they indicate otherwise, without demonstration. So, why can't Pitch Perfect's Cynthia Rose control herself?
Perhaps that's because in an ensemble cast of nine actors, with two saying no more than 10 syllables between them, Cynthia Rose had to stand out by whatever means at Moore's disposal. Unfortunately for Dean, that means her delivery as the character falls flat.
(Pitch Perfect graphic via Photobucket)