Mar 10, 2007

Movie Review: "Dreamgirls"

Flawed fantasy... Dreamgirls

More than two hours' worth of pure sucrose-enriched production values are socked over, pretty much without drawing breath, by this adapted Broadway musical about the Detroit scene from the soul 1960s to the disco 1970s, scripted and directed by Bill Condon. It is a fictionalised, streamlined version of the great personalities from this era, the chief of which is a quasi-Diana Ross figure played by Beyoncé Knowles. Eddie Murphy plays raunchy singer and ladies' man James "Thunder" Early, and Jamie Foxx is Curtis Taylor Jr, the fast-talking Cadillac-dealer-turned-promoter looking for ways to make the powerful black sound cross over to the white audience.There aren't actually that many songs here in the generic musical sense, and the characters don't start singing in this stylised way until some way into the movie, so the effect is a bit odd. The movie inevitably invites comparison with Jamie Foxx's breakthrough star vehicle Ray, about Ray Charles, with similar backstage shenanigans, tour-bus montages and hit-record excitements, though Foxx's character here is far less interesting and sympathetic. There is no single person or story to centre the drama around, and Murphy's performance, though widely liked and indeed now Oscar-nominated, is for my money flatly written with very little of the high comedy octane of which we know he is capable. [source: The Guardian]

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