Went with Justin to see Dreamgirls, the feature film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical. Loosely inspired by the story of Diana Ross and The Supremes, Dreamgirls follows a small Detroit group of girls on their rollercoaster ride of fame and fortune. Effie White (Jennifer Hudson) is the lead singer of The Dreamettes, but when she and her two companions get a chance to sing backup to James “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy), they take a chance and their stardom begins to grow. But soon their manager Curtis Taylor, Jr. (Jamie Foxx) wants to take the girls out on their own – but with Deena Jones (Beyonce Knowles) as the lead. Watch the fireworks ensue!
This film is an all-out fun-fest of music, with some great performances by everyone all around. Hudson steals the show (much to Knowles’ chagrin, I’m sure), and her scene-stopping performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” will give you chills. Beyonce does a good turn as a Diana Ross figure, and director Bill Condon doesn’t hold back with the references, especially during the “Disco phase”. The only real problem with the music, though, is that it’s more “Broadway” than “Motown” or “R&B”. So they talk about all these great R&B songs as if they’re the second-coming, but then you get a pretty decent Broadway tune that sounds like it’s trying to be R&B. Hmm. Also, the way that songs are sung “in the story” (as performances) doesn’t seem to be much different than how their sung as character moments (as Broadway numbers) – thus confusing the way music is used.
It’s a flashy movie, and it’s a lotta fun, but it has some serious plot issues, especially towards the second half, which also slows down the pace considerably. There was some Oscar buzz on this film, but I personally don’t see it. I am sure it will get a few noms, but this is hardly a “Best Picture” film. Still, Dreamgirls was entertaining and fun, and worth checking out if you’re interested in the story and the music.