Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Dreamgirls. Wow.

So I was invited to watch Dreamgirls with the husband tonight. I didn't have a lot of high expectations of the movie, primarily because Beyonce isn't exactly the greatest actress, nor is she really the greatest singer.

But I found myself after the movie liking it. Really liking it for a lot of different reasons. The movie itself was refreshing because it's the first movie musical I've seen in a long time that wasn't associated with Andrew Lloyd Webber, which in itself is noteworthy.

The acting was pretty much spot on--and I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of restraint Beyonce had throughout the movie. Beyonce, as the 21st century version of Diana Ross, could have played the role to the hilt, and tried to take over the movie. She plays Deena perfectly, as a woman forced from the background into the spotlight, an unwilling participant and pawn in Charles' (Jamie Foxx's) game of American musical domination. The other actors were just as amazing, though Jamie Foxx seemed to be the most disappointing, as his face seemed to be stuck in only one expression no matter what emotion he was supposed to be feeling, and his singing ability pales to almost everyone else in the movie, including Eddie Murphy (!!!). The chemistry between him and Beyonce was also the least believable, but Beyonce is able to pull off the tenuous relationship better than Foxx is.

The best surprise was Jennifer Hudson who plays Effie. Considering what I've heard about Jennifer Holliday being the original Effie, Hudson quietly yet firmly takes hold of Dreamgirls and makes it her own. She is able to fill in the shoes of Jennifer Holliday quite well, and her singing amazes in "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" even if her acting is a little stilted in that scene. Her acting and portrayal of Effie as the woman left behind as the Dreams take off is the glue that keeps the movie going.

There are some things that hold the movie back from being the blockbuster that it should be--I had trouble visualizing Eddie Murphy as the James Brown character until the very end, and there are some parts that are relatively slow. But overall, the movie is a wonderful surprise, and definitely worth seeing.

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