I LIKE BEYONCÉ. I like musicals, too. So naturally, I was stoked to see Dreamgirls, recalling my ecstatic experience watching Chicago. Dreamgirls director Bill Condon wrote the screenplay for Chicago, so why wouldn't the magic carry over? I was already anticipating how great it would be to see Boo-yonce let loose on the big screen with the best voice in pop music.
So you can imagine my immense disappointment when I wanted to bolt for the exit not a quarter of the way through Dreamgirls—and that's coming from someone who will contentedly sit through just about anything. Of course, I didn't leave the theater, and for the good of this review, subjected myself to crushing boredom and a musical score that equates "good singing" with "screaming as loud and as often as possible."
I know, I know—Dreamgirls was a smash on Broadway, and American Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson pulls off her role as Effie White (main screamer) beyond expectations. But I'm convinced it's only the diehard fans of the theatrical production and/or American Idol who are filling up message boards and IMDB comment space with raves of this film. Because—in case you haven't already guessed—I totally, totally hated this movie.The plot is beyond predictable (it's a standard "rise and fall" story, centering on a Diana Ross and the Supremes-esque group during the '60s and '70s), with thematic territory so well trod it seems redundant to even recount. Nonetheless, such celebrity myth cycles are effectively regurgitated all the time—it just takes a little personality, and a lot of passion. But nearly everyone in Dreamgirls (which also includes Jamie Foxx and Anika Noni Rose) seems content with merely going through the motions of their respective caricatures, with the expectation that the film's surprisingly crappy music will save the day (had they just performed classic Motown, it could have worked). Except, that is, for Eddie Murphy—who looks and sounds great, and is the unexpected gem of the entire film. Everything else about Dreamgirls, though, is a very sad song.