by Tony Medley
Even though I love Broadway
musicals, I wasn’t a fan of this on the stage, mainly because I didn’t
like the music. On film, the story is much more compelling, but I still
didn’t like the music. To me, there’s little difference between this
music and yelling. Exacerbating that, it was far too loud. I had to put
my fingers in my ears for each and every musical number. The music was
simply deafening. If you go see this, take ear plugs.
I would imagine that everyone
knows the story, which is based on Diana Ross and the Supremes. In this
film the group is called the Dreamettes. At the start they are a lead
singer, Effie White (Jennifer Hudson) and two backups, Deena Jones (Beyoncé
Knowles) and Lorrell Robinson (Anika Noni Rose). They hook up with
smooth-talking promoter Curtis Taylor, Jr. (Jamie Foxx), who, himself,
hooks up with up-and-coming singer James “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy).
Effie is far and away the
best singer in the group, and starts a relationship with Curtis. But
when Curtis finally gets enough power, he switches Effie to backup and
promotes the beautiful Deena to lead singer and swaps beds at the same
time. In essence, Effie gets dumped.
Despite the music, I did like
the story and the acting. Hudson does a remarkable job creating the
strong-willed Effie and communicating the hurt she endures. Murphy gives
a spectacular performance. Foxx does a good job in a role that doesn’t
require too much.
Had I liked the music, I
would have loved the film because writer-director Bill Condon clearly
respects the music. There aren’t those quick cuts that ruined “Walk the
Line” (2005) and diminished “Chicago.” He stays with his singers and
doesn’t have interlinked scenes during the songs, as ruined many fine
production numbers in “De-Lovely” (2004).
This is kind of like an opera
because many of the songs constitute monologues by the actors. In
summary, the acting and directing and story are good, the music is not
my cup of tea and too loud, and it’s too long at a little over two
December 12, 2006