Dreamgirls

2006

Action / Drama / Music / Musical

15
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 78%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 71%
IMDb Rating 6.5 10 64462

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Eddie Murphy as James 'Thunder' Early
John Krasinski as Sam Walsh
Jamie Foxx as Curtis Taylor Jr.
Jaleel White as Talent Booker
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.17 GB
1280*544
English
PG-13
23.976 fps
2hr 10 min
P/S 1 / 15
2.25 GB
1920*816
English
PG-13
23.976 fps
2hr 10 min
P/S 3 / 19

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by mnpollio 4 / 10

Bland and flat

Dreamgirls, despite its fistful of Tony wins in an incredibly weak year on Broadway, has never been what one would call a jewel in the crown of stage musicals. However, that is not to say that in the right cinematic hands it could not be fleshed out and polished into something worthwhile on-screen. Unfortunately, what transfers to the screen is basically a slavishly faithful version of the stage hit with all of its inherent weaknesses intact. First, the score has never been one of the strong points of this production and the film does not change that factor. There are lots of songs (perhaps too many?), but few of them are especially memorable. The closest any come to catchy tunes are the title song and One Night Only - the much acclaimed And I Am Telling You That I Am Not Going is less a great song than it is a dramatic set piece for the character of Effie (Jennifer Hudson). The film is slick and technically well-produced, but the story and characters are surprisingly thin and lacking in any resonance. There is some interest in the opening moments, watching Jamie Foxx's Svengali-like manager manipulate his acts to the top, but that takes a back seat in the latter portion of the film, when the story conveniently tries to cast him as a villain, despite his having been right from a business stand-point for a good majority of the film. Beyonce Knowles is lovely and sings her songs perfectly well, but is stuck with a character who is basically all surface glitz. Anika Noni Rose as the third member of the Dreamgirls trio literally has nothing to do for the entire film. Eddie Murphy acquits himself well as a singer obviously based on James Brown, but the role is not especially meaty and ultimately has little impact. Foxx would seem ideal casting, but he seems oddly withdrawn and bored. The film's biggest selling point is surely former American Idol contestant/Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson in the central role of Effie White, the temperamental singer who gets booted from the group and makes a triumphant closing act return. For me, Effie has always been a big problem in both the show and the movie. The film obviously wants you to feel sorry for her and rather ham-handedly takes her side, but I have never been sure that this character deserves that kind of devotion. From the start, Effie conducts herself for the most part like an obnoxious, egotistical, self-centered diva, who is more interested in what everyone else can do for her rather than having much vested interest in the group of which she is a part. When she is booted from the group for her unprofessionalism and bad attitude, the charges are more than well-founded, but the stage show/film seem to think Effie should be cut unlimited slack simply because she has a great voice. Even though the film tries to soften some of Effie's harder edges to make her more likable, the charges still stand. Her story becomes more manipulative by suggesting she should have our further sympathy because she is an unwed mother struggling to raise her daughter - using the implication that (much like the talent card) motherhood immediately makes any behavior excusable. Indeed the only big effort the film makes to show Effie's mothering is to tell us about it and then include a scene where she barks at her daughter in the unemployment office, insists that the girl has "no father" and then refuse to look for gainful employment to support them since singing is all she knows. In the hands of a skillful actress, the gaps could perhaps have been remedied with technique and charisma. Unfortunately, Hudson is not that actress. She sings well, but the dialog-driven moments do not come naturally to her nor do high emotional moments. Effie's signature moment (the aforementioned And I Am Telling You... number) is well-sung by Hudson, but emotionally flat in the acting department. Effie is supposed to expressing her rage and desperation at her predicament, but Hudson comes off as a cabaret performer belting out a hot number. All in all, not quite the emotional highlight one expects. The latter portion of the film is basically a predictable melange of events that maneuver Foxx into Hudson's earlier position and allow her to strut back in and lord it over everyone. Foxx's criminal offenses in the film are undoubtedly par for the course of many struggling record producers, but the film's seeming implication that he has it coming because he helped usher in the disco era is rather ridiculous, not to mention pretentious and condescending, particularly coming from a film with all of the depth of a puddle. The end result is a faithful rendition of the stage hit, drained of emotion, energy or anything that can be described as dynamic.

Reviewed by nayanbhula 6 / 10

Overrated

After all the nominations and wins, my wife and I finally saw this -- I love this era of soul music, so i was really excited about the music. For the most part the music was good...some overblown American Idol theatrics and shrieking instead of singing, but overall good. I was also excited to see the acting...and in the end I wasn't that impressed. Jennifer Hudson seems to be everyones favorite this year, but I didn't think she had to do to much acting...it was good to see a newcomer, so confident in a role -- but in regards to actual nominations, this is probably the last you'll see of her. Eddie Murphy was good in his very small role, I wish that he was given more dialog or more story...if he wins the Oscar, I guess it's the Academy giving him an award for the bulk of his work. But, Hudson clearly shouldn't win...I hope the Academy looks to the Babel nominees, who had to act, not make music videos with emotion! Costumes and make-up were great, Beyonce's role shadowed her real life...in the sense, beautiful woman, good in various forms, singing, dancing, acting...a great product. Not actual a standout in any of them. In the end OK movie, overrated....definitely.

Reviewed by Screen-Space 9 / 10

A great American musical....

Screened overnite in Australia for critics and industry.

Ten minutes into director Bill Condon's adaptation of the hit musical, I whispered to my friend "There's no way the film can go at this pace for two hours!" Because up to that point, we had been utterly dazzled by breathtaking staging, impassioned performances and a display of film-making craftsmanship in all its forms (direction, editing, design) that had the packed audience stunned.

Well, two hours later, I'd been proved wrong. Condon has created a vivid, emotional spectacle that will dominate the 06/07 Oscar nominations. Dreamgirls is one of the five best movie musicals ever made.

There is really nothing new about the storyline - smalltown singers make it big and ride the roller-coaster of fame. But thats what works so well for the film - the great cinematic clichés are embraced and played to the hilt by a creative team, both behind and in front of the camera, that knows what makes a great Hollywood musical.

There's not one weak link in the cast. Condon's camera is in love with Beyonce Knowles and she handles the journey from the innocence of the groups early years to the staggering success and fortune of the group at its peak with surprising range. While most singer/actress attempts are failures (Madonna, Whitney, Britney, k.d. lang), Beyonce proves to have genuine talent.

Jamie Foxx centres and grounds the film in a less-flashy role but one that is crucial to the films credibility.

But there are two standouts. Eddie Murphy as fading star Early has never done better work. And Jennifer Hudson delivers an absolute tour-de-force performance in a role that sees her dominate every scene she is in. Her belting solo number was applauded by the audience (a rare enough occurrence during an industry screening but a moment that was repeated a few times thru the film). Hudson is a lock for the supporting actress Oscar, even this far from the ceremony.

Dreamgirls is a better movie in every way than recent award winning musicals Chicago and Moulin Rouge (both of which I am a huge fan). It is a film that tells a classic rags-to-riches story utilising great cinematic technique and bravado. 2006 has offered up some great movie-going experiences for me (Thank You For Smoking, Children Of Men, V For Vendetta, Little Miss Sunshine); for the sheer cinematic thrill it provides, however, Dreamgirls proves to be the best two hours I've spent in a cinema this year.

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