Sunday, March 11, 2007

DREAMGIRLS MOVIE REVIEW


























CAST: JAMIE FOXX, BEYONCE KNOWLES, EDDIE MURPHY, JENNIFER HUDSON, DANNY GLOVER
DIRECTOR: BILL CONDON
RUNTIME: 131 min.
RATING: ****
GENRE: MUSICAL, DRAMA

DREAMGIRLS is an absolute blast, absolutely no two ways about it. DREAMGIRLS is I guess why Friday nights at the movies got invented in the first place. Take your friends, your family, your kids and have a real blast. It is dazzling, it is loud and you’ll have one helluva time. DREAMGIRLS is the sort of movie you’ll watch on a Friday evening and absolutely forget the next morning. But when you’re in it, you just are going to have pure, unabashed fun. In short it is an extravaganza.
DREAMGIRLS is based on the popular Broadway musical. The film adaptation that has been announced numerous times with singer actresses like Whitney Houston, Kelly Price supposed to be cast, has finally found daylight in this spectacular screenplay from writer director Bill Condon. Condon, as in his previous Academy Award winning musical CHICAGO keeps the energy levels pumping throughout.
DREAMGIRLS is the story of three aspiring singers who want to make it big in the world of showbiz. It is the pursuit of their dream and their realization of what it takes to have their wildest dreams fulfilled. The three “Dreamettes” Deena Jones (Beyonce Knowles), Effie White (Jennifer Hudson) and Lorrell Robinson (Anika Noni Rose) are discovered at a local singing competition by Curtis Taylor (Jamie Foxx) who becomes their manager and quickly catapults them to fame. He puts them behind a popular singer James “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy) and then when things go a bit rough with Early makes them their own band. They go on to become a sensation but at the cost of their friendship, and as they put it, their “Family”.
DREAMGIRLS is in two periods, one during the 60s when the group is at their very best with all the bonds intact. The other is during the 70s when things get rough. DREAMGIRLS maybe one of the most ferocious entertainers around but it touches the grim reality of the music industry. And it sure does sound relevant in the music industry in India where there is a new remake every morning. And all that is through the eyes of a few characters. It is amazing how the movie keeps the characters so rich and complex yet never does stop for a single character. It is an absolute gem of a screenplay from Condon.
Performance wise the movie is top notch. Eddie Murphy has never been better. He gives one rip-roaring performance but still manages to break your heart without ever getting melodramatic. Jamie Foxx, fresh from the debacle that was MIAMI VICE pitches in with a fantastic performance and so do Beyonce Knowles and Danny Glover. But the movie belongs to Jennifer Hudson. She does everything and just steals the thunder from everybody. Even if musicals aren’t your cup of tea just watch it for Hudson. She’s just way over the top and you will have a ball watching her.
DREAMGIRLS is an experience. The sets are dazzling, in fact this is the best visual musical, more so that Baz Lurhmann’s masterpiece MOULIN ROUGE!. But below all the visual glitter and glamour, there’s a real wonderful story with real wonderful characters that makes DREAMGIRLS so special. It is filled with musical numbers but Condon never skips a beat with either character development or plot. The movie runs along at a breakneck pace. The Academy award sure went to Martin Scorsese’s THE DEPARTED but DREAMGIRLS sure was a frontrunner for that award.
DREAMGIRLS is I guess how a musical should be made. Bollywood, the supposed capital of musicals churn out soulless crap every other week. I guess everybody here has just lost the plot when it comes to making a musical.
All in all DREAMGIRLS is hugely recommended. Go and have an absolute blast.

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