Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
What the MPAA Rating should be: PG-13 (for language, sexual content and brief drug use)
Directed by: Bill Condon
Written by: Bill Condon
Based on the play by: Tom Eyen
Produced by: Laurence Mark
Starring: Beyonce Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy, Anika Rose
Studio: DreamWorks Pictures
As 2006 draws to a close, I will look back at it as disappointing and with no outstanding films. However, there was the wonderfully entertaining adaptation of Dreamgirls
, which leapt off of the screen and much like last year's film version of The Producers
, it felt like being on the Broadway stage. Bill Condon, the screenwriter of Chicago
has done a fantastic job of turning the twenty-five year old play into a motion picture and he has certainly chosen some great actors to help bring it to life. Dreamgirls
is big, brassy and a sight to behold. This is a film that you shouldn't wait to see on video as it should be viewed on the big screen with gigantic surround sound to be really enjoyed.
Deena, Lorrell and Effie (Beyonce Knowles, Anika Rose and newcomer Jennifer Hudson) are young wannabe singers from Detroit, who are given the opportunity to sing behind famous soul singer James Early (Eddie Murphy) by car salesman Curtis Taylor Junior (Jamie Foxx). At first Effie is reluctant, but due to the pleadings of her friends, she agrees. A romance begins between Curtis and Effie, but after she is forced to sing in the background for Deena as well, she decides to leave "The Dreams" as they are now called. It all goes downhill from there as the group loses the best singer and James develops a drug problem. Deena and Curtis also wed, but his idea of money over good music soon takes a toll on their relationship. Meanwhile, Effie tries to bring her career back up.
The music in Dreamgirls
is naturally great and Condon writes a very good adaptation, but the main reason for the sucess of this film is the casting. Jamie Foxx, coming off of his fantastic Oscar-winning work in Ray
, gives yet another great performance as Curtis and easily shows a simple man who begins an unhealthy obsession with wealth. Beyonce Knowles is much better than expected and while she isn't fantastic, still provides good work. Eddie Murphy gives a different performance than usual and it works for him. When Hollywood begins work on its James Brown biopic, Murphy is the man for the job. The highlight of the film, though, is former American Idol
contestant Jennifer Hudson, who shines in both her singing and dialogue scenes. Her rendition of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" brings the house and will very likely blow hundreds of Academy voters away. Hudson gives a heartfelt performance that most certainly deserves an Academy Award. Dreamgirls
is a wonderful musical experience and one that needs to be seen to be believed.
Jamie Foxx and the incredible Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls.