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Dreamgirls

 

The Diva's review of
Dreamgirls(2006)

 

Dreamgirls Rated PG; running time of about 2 hours
Genre: Musical
Book and Lyrics by: Tom Eyen
Written by: Bill Condon
Directed by: Bill Condon
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles , Eddie Murphy , Danny Glover , Anika Noni Rose , Keith Robinson , Jennifer Hudson , Sharon Leal , Hinton Battle ,Yvette Nicole Brown
U.S. Release Date: 12/25/06


WARNING - SPOILERS BELOW.

The Digest

Effie (Jennifer Hudson), Deena (, Beyoncé Knowles), Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose) at the tender age of 18, have traveled from Chicago to New York to appear at the famed Apollo Theater. With songs written by Effie's brother C.C ( Keith Robinson) they are determined to make their mark on the music world as "The Dreams". Effie's powerful voice and their gifted harmonizing ensure them a win, but they don't count on Curtis Taylor, Jr (Jamie Foxx). Curtis is a slimy used car sales man who smells success and fixes the contest. This puts the young and naive "Dreams" right where he wants them. Meanwhile the James Brown like singer, James 'Thunder" Early (Eddie Murphy), has kissed one too many back up singers so he is left with out any singers, Curtis moves in for the kill and secures a place for 'The Dreams". Before you know it, The Dreams are on the road. And Curtis has set his eyes on the vulnerable Effie.

It's not enough that they perform live, they also need to cut a record and they have the perfect song and it's a hit James Early, such a hit that it promptly redone and covered by a white group. Such is life in the 60s. Not to let this happen to the Dreams, they grease a few palms and decide to move a full figured Effie to the back.

But Effie ain't having it. She is very vocal with her displeasure and the fact of the matter is that she is the better singer. Yet her anger causes her attendance to be erratic and it is also causing tension in the group so she is unceremoniously fired.

Can The Dreams and their dreams survive without Effie? And more importantly, is Effie her own worse enemy and can she survive herself if she is causing her own downfall.

The Dish

I’ve waited a good 20 years for this to make it to screen. The only thing I’ve waited longer for is a remake of “The Wiz”. This movie had to be right. Seriously. The only comparison is to that of the comic book fans love of their favorite superhero. – to an extent. DG fans most likely did not take to the webboards and plan protests, but the filmmakers knew they had to be very careful and do it right. I’m happy to report that Bill Condon;s vision was done just right.

HOTDAMN. Jennifer can “sang!” and so can Beyonce for that matter. And hell they both can “ack” too. This movie was just as amazing as the play. Everyone should be able to enjoy this movie, but I suspect those of us who love and adore old style Motown are the ones who will most likely party throughout the whole movie. Every scene is better than the last and with the exception of one song, every note hits. The only song I did not care for Cadillac Car or the explanation leading up to it. This is true of the play as well. I’ve seen it several times over my life time and I have never connected with this song. And of course I must mention “And I Am Telling You” one of the most celebrated Broadway songs in the last 25 years. Anyone who considers themselves to be music connoisseurs should know of Jennifer Holiday’s rendition of this song. Jennifer Hudson, does the song justice and puts enough of her signature on it to now claim it as her own. Another powerhouse performance is “Listen” which is Deena Jones’ big number –“Listen”. I like Beyonce I think she’s alright. I prefer her solo work over that of Destiny’s Child which I just barely tolerated. After Dreamgirls, I’m in the Beyonce fan club. I might even buy some of those overpriced clothes. You can not walk away from this movie without believing that Beyonce can sing and act. My other favorite song, “When I First Saw You” sung so sweetly by Jamie Foxx, another fine performance.

But that is not the biggest surprise. Oh no. That belongs to Brother Murphy. I swear Eddie needs a nomination and a win, seriously. “We” know he can act and sing. But not like this. He is the comedic stand out as expected, but it is the unexpected dramatic pauses that makes one scream “Oscar”. The same chant is being screamed for Jennifer Hudson. I’m not quite on that boat yet. I want to see her performance again. I’d also go out on a limb and throw Beyonce’s hat in the ring for Best Supporting. Look for original cast member Loretta Devine and dance legend Hinton Battle (who originated the Scarecrow in The Wiz and who choreographed "Idlewild") and a shout out to Michael Bennett.

Of course I’m really cautious about all of this. I’m old enough to vividly remember what happened with “The Color Purple” and I’ll lead the protest myself if we see that again. Before I finish, I have to give a shout out to my sistah-gurl, Yvette Nicole Brown. She plays Curtis’ secretary in a “blink and you’ll miss her” scene. BUT we rejoice in the fact that she was in the movie even if it is for just a minute. “Dreamgirls” is one of the greatest black musicals of all time, but I think it’s time to remove that label. “Dreamgirls” is one of the greatest musicals of all time.

The Directive

On Christmas day, give your whole family a treat and see “Dreamgirls” on opening day.

3BC Ratings

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This is a toe-tapping and head-bobbing movie and occasionally, you may just get up on your feet and give a standing ovation..


Copyright Kamal "The Diva" Larsuel-Ulbricht, 2006
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