Freshman Beca is part of a rag-tag class of recruits who join the Barden University Bellas, perky young ladies who dress like flight attendants, adhere to a rigid set of rules and have super-secret, sorority-style rituals. (The audition process, in which everyone is forced to sing the Kelly Clarkson anthem "Since U Been Gone," is edited so beautifully, it feels like a fresh take on the tried-and-true, bad-first-date montage.) The Bellas' leader is the meticulous, tyrannical Aubrey (Anna Camp); a redheaded Brittany Snow is her flirty and more forward-thinking right-hand woman.
It's their goal to knock off the school's rival guy group, the Treblemakers, and win the national championship. John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks (who's also a producer on the film) are hilarious as the broadcast team providing inane, slightly naughty commentary at every stop along the way. Their bits feel natural, unpredictable and ad-libbed, like something out of a Christopher Guest mockumentary.
But the whole supporting cast is strong and well-chosen, with nearly every actor getting a chance to provide off-kilter comedy. An outrageous Rebel Wilson, who was so great last year as Kristen Wiig's roommate in "Bridesmaids" — and whose character here nicknamed herself "Fat Amy" — gets many of the film's crudest and best lines, while the wonderfully odd Hana Mae Lee steals her share of scenes in her own quiet way.