Anna Kendrick hits sour note on 'Saturday Night Live'

Marianne Dowling, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:22 AM ET

Two hours before Anna Kendrick walked on stage to host her very first Saturday Night Live, she tweeted “Halfway through dress rehearsal for SNL tonight. Lots of quick costume changes. So far only two truly painful wedgies. I'll keep you posted.”

 

 

This is what Kendrick is like on Twitter – charming, hilarious and adorably self-deprecating. These qualities, plus her theatrical background, and Oscar-nominated acting talent made her seem like a lock to blow everyone away on SNL. So why was it so disappointing? The show seemed to focus more on her singing voice than her sense of humour, which is a waste on a sketch comedy show.

Here are some of the high and low lights:

COLD OPEN:

After the farce GM CEO Mary Barra made out of the congressional hearing over the company’s Cobalt recall – she deserved to be mercilessly spoofed in the first segment of the show. Kate McKinnon played an extremely evasive Barry (not far from the real thing), who would rather roll her chair toward the exit than give a straight answer. While this sketch had more laughs than the original hearing, when those CSPAN graphics pop up on screen before a cold open, it usually means the next few minutes will be dry and drag on for too long. Last night was no exception.

MONOLOGUE:

In case no one knew Kendrick got her start in musical theatre – there was no mistaking it by the end of the monologue, which featured the actress and pretty much the whole cast singing along to a re-imagined “Belle” song from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The performance went off without a hitch – jazz hands and all – but is a sobering reminder of how fast time flies. Beauty and the Beast was released in 1991, which means Belle, if she were a real person, would be well into her 40s by now.

BEST SKETCH:

THE LITTLE MERMAID

Spoofing just one Disney musical wasn’t enough for Kendrick this night, so it was onto Ariel, the Little Mermaid for the her fifth sketch. Instead of having the voice of an angel, Kendrick’s Ariel sang like Britney Spears and Ke$ha in a high-pitched nasally voice that made octopus villain Ursula (Aidy Bryant) compare it to “a baby having sex.” Oddly enough, the sketch ends with Jay Pharoah as Sebastian the crab singing Sean Paul’s Temperature - a song that was hot back in 2006. Obviously, pop music is years behind under the sea.

WORST OR POSSIBLY BEST SKETCH:

DONGS ALL OVER THE WORLD

Finally, after two years of writing SNL recaps, I can finally use the word “dong.” In this pre-recorded music video, Bryant, Cecily Strong, Sasheer Zamata, McKinnon and Kendrick played a group of “International Nasty Girls” who fly all over the world to have sex with as many men (or, uh, get as many dongs) as possible. Crude, immature, and gross humour is great (as long as you’re not watching it with your mother) but this video just seemed like an excuse to say “dong” over and over again. But, is that so wrong?

MUSICAL GUEST:

PHARRELL WILLIAMS

For his first song, Pharrell gave the audience the two things they wanted most: A performance of “Happy,” one of the catchiest songs he’s ever written - and another appearance of his famous Arby’s hat. With that out of the way, he bumped it up a notch for his second song, “Marilyn Monroe,” with a full orchestra conducted by German composer Hans Zimmer and showed off a his pair of silver sequined sneakers that would have made Liberace proud.


Pharrell Williams performs "Marilyn Monroe... by HumanSlinky


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