Movie Review #685

Studio: DreamWorks SKG — Paramount Pictures — Laurence Mark Productions
Distributor: DreamWorks SKG — Paramount Pictures
Country: USA
Spoken Languages: English

Directed by Bill Condon. Produced by Laurence Mark. Screenplay by Bill Condon. Book by Tom Eyen.

Rated PG-13 by the MPAA — profanity, infrequent sexual content, infrequent drug material. Runs 2 hours, 10 minutes. Premiered at Austin Butt-Numb-A-Thon on December 9, 2006. Limited release in Los Angeles, California and New York City, New York on December 15, 2006. Wide release in the USA on December 25, 2006.

Starring Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, Jennifer Hudson, Anika Noni Rose, and Keith Robinson. Also starring Sharon Leal, Hinton Battle, Mariah Wilson, Yvette Cason, Ken Page, John Lithgow, John Krasinski, Alexander Folk, Esther Scott, Jordan Wright, Dawnn Lewis, JoNell Kennedy, Sybyl Walker, Rory O’Malley, Ivar Brogger, Jocko Sims, Pam Trotter, Cleo King, and Charles Jones.

Cinemaniac Reviews three stars

I like Eddie Murphy. Not post-2000 Eddie Murphy. SNL Eddie Murphy. “Beverly Hills Cop” Eddie Murphy. Stand-up comic Eddie Murphy. To consolidate all that jazz, real Eddie Murphy. “Dreamgirls” is a 2007 movie featuring Eddie Murphy in a supporting role. Not post-2000 Eddie Murphy. Nor the real Eddie Murphy we got used to in the ’80s. But a real Eddie Murphy, any way you slice it.

So why am I kicking off my “Dreamgirls” review with talk on Murphy, who only appears for a quarter of the film? Because it’s a thankful quarter of the film, and enough to prove that this movie does offer surprises. “Dreamgirls” is about racism and moreover sexism. This trio (Beyoncé Knowles, Anika Noni Rose, Jennifer Hudson) doesn’t want to be the backup singers for Jimmy Thunder (Murphy) or their boss’s (Jamie Foxx) playthings. I mean, have you even heard of the Raelettes? They’re the female voices you’ll hear in the background of pretty much any Ray Charles song. You want that little recognition, as the group of extras that nobody’s heard of, and you may as well have no talent whatsoever.

But these women do have talent. So they work on becoming the Dreamgirls, a trio on their own command.

“Dreamgirls” is an enjoyable musical with at least six great performances–those from Knowles, Rose, Hudson, Murphy, and Foxx, as well as a supporting performance from Danny Glover. Let’s face it, it’s not every day I’ll sit down and instantly decide to pop in a musical movie. No, “Dreamgirls” isn’t a classic, and Bill Condon’s “Chicago”, whether you love it or loathe it, has a decidedly better screenplay. Not that this one is bad, though. Its one bitter flaw is pacing, with a running time that overstays its welcome by about fifteen minutes. This being mostly thanks to the integration of one in every four or five songs. They’re used as interludes and heavily distract us from the plot. But nothing on the soundtrack is without chutzpah, regardless of where and how it’s placed. So, if you’re lookin’ for a good song and dance…here you are.

Tomorrow’s Review

American Pie 2


9 thoughts on “Dreamgirls

  1. I’m an old guy who was around in the 50’s and 60’s when they were cranking out those stock rock ‘n roll biz movies. I’ve seen this movie a dozen times before. Dreamgirls has the clichéd characters and the predictable paper thin plot that were characteristic of the genre. Even in the context of that genre Dreamgirls doesn’t make the grade because it has an instantly forgettable soundtrack.

    I think Dreamgirls was supposed to be a parody of those old movies, but none of the critics got it because they are all too young to have seen them. They are not classics. Dreamgirls takes itself very seriously with not one moment of humor. Therein lies the parody — nobody took those old rock n roll movies seriously.

    As those old rock ‘n roll movies demonstrated, transferring great stage numbers straight to film with twinkie filling between the numbers does not make a great movie.

    My nomination for the most over-hyped movie of 2006 goes to …

    • I know what you mean by the old rock and roll movies, though I’ll admit of course that I’ve not seen any of them. Dreamgirls, however, is not rock music. This is an entirely different genre, and rhythm and blues (this soundtrack) came to be in ways far different than rock and roll. While you’re certainly entitled to your opinion, and I am eager to hear more from you, I don’t quite see how Dreamgirls and rock and roll go together. Could you please explain this to me?

  2. Good review. It’s strange that Bill Condon would do something like this, but it’s even stranger that he pulls it off almost effortlessly. It’s not a perfect movie, but it hits all of the right notes and shows that its cast is capable of handling their own, when and when they aren’t belting their lungs out.

  3. I’ll have to say, it may not be a 10/10 star film, but IMDb really does underrate the movie. (Can’t believe Bill Condon chose to direct the last Twilight movies after this…)

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