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January 03, 2007



"trash heap, nyah!" just made SO SAD that we're not eating doozer stix tonight.

amazing review. i heart the way you think.


While I'll be outing myself as a former showqueen, Dreamgirls (IMO) has never been that great a show. The book is (as you pointed out) predictable and the score (with a few exceptions) is banal. The original show was a sensation based on it's staging and performances. With Bill Condon's direction being perfunctory, that leaves the movie to rest solely on the performances and the "legend". And to be honest - I thought the cast, with exception of Jamie Foxx, delivered pretty well. But the "legend" and the direction definitely fail to deliver.

I always took the weird "pop music is wrong" message as a theatre snobbery thing. Let's face it: C.C. might scoff at how the electronic beats get in the way of emotions of music, but the emotional urgency of "One Night Only" is helped, not hindered, by those exact beats, no?

And for what it's worth: Effie did originally die, but Jennifer Holiday refused to play the part if they killed her off, and the writers rewrote it.

And finally: Beyonce has never managed to actually act in a movie until Dreamgirls - attention should be paid.


"not so much played as zombified by Beyoncé" - LOVE. IT.

Arthur James


I disagree. I don't think it was excruciating. At the very least, the lighting, choreography, costumes & overall cinematography was tasty to watch. & at the very most, it was just so damn sweet for a change to see a major motion picture - albeit one that has its faults - that is chock full of African-American folk & have not one of them proclaim that it's hard out there for a pimp.

Hallelujer for that.


When Beyonce said "fuck," the entire theatre of black people all went "whoa B! whaaaaaaaaaat?!?!?!"


oh, and someone send Mama Knowles a thank-you card for those incredible costumes


Beyonce at her best was barely adequate (though she can WORK a costume change). Any dramatic kudos for her are totally unjustified.

Eddie gave a great performance with horrible material. Jennifer Hudson was the standout, but I wonder about her ability to deliver non-sass.

I LOVE musicals, so how is it that - with all the diva-ocity of Dreamgirls stacked in its favor - I still thought that Casino Royale was the much gayer and more enjoyable movie?


My roommate loved it and wants to see it again. Once was enough for me, even though I have to admit I loved Hudson (she was my favorite AI contestant ever and when she got the boot was when I stopped calling to vote for people OK I can't believe I just admitted I used to call and vote for people on AI).

It was enjoyable to watch, but there were just too many things that kept bugging me throughout the movie:

I kept expecting Eddie Murphy to bust into "Aigh! It's hot! In the hot tub!" at any second, since I'm sure it was his James Brown impersonations on SNL that got him the part.

The only time Beyonce showed any acting chops were in the distant-angle shots of her body double from the waist down (they never really showed Beyonce from the waist down in close-up).

The music for being from a musical was not appealing. I admit I downloaded "And I Am Telling You..." but the only part of the song I really like is the few notes of "You're gonna love me", which is a few seconds out of a five-minute song.

Why was Ray Charles able to see and what was he doing being the Dreamettes manager?

"Diana Ross" would never have been that thoughtful or caring about Effie. Please.

I read an article/preview about Dreamgirls in Newsweek before it opened and the article said that in the test screening after Hudson sings "And I Am Telling You blahblahblah" the audience gave a standing ovation, which is apparently rare for test screenings. We saw the first showing of Dreamgirls the day it opened (Xmas; although there were preview showings the week before, but tickets were $25 each before opening day) and everyone in the theater applauded after Hudson sang "And I Am..." so I couldn't help but feel like something was wrong. Not with her performance, but like maybe everyone in the audience that we saw it with had read the same Newsweek article and thought they were supposed to clap and cheer. Being the first showing on opening day it wasn't like people had heard they're supposed to clap. Everyone I talked to who has seen DGirls said the same thing happened: people erupt into applause for Hudson. Maybe it is a natural reaction to a touching and poignant number, but the cynic in me says something's afoot.


I totally disagree with this review. I really enjoyed the movie. I did not 'LOVE' and one viewing was enough for me. I thought all of the characters were well played and I enjoyed Jamie Foxx because he really made you hate him. A friend of mine told me they gave a standing ovation in her theater as well (she lives in Canada) The audience in my theater did applaud as well, but I personally thought applauding was ridiculous. The actors were not there in person to receive that applause, so I guess I agree with xnow, maybe they were that touched.


Rich, thank you for enlightening me! I did not want to see this movie because I have seen way to many drag numbers of the various songs and old school drag at that....trd trd trd! But the movie trurned out to be a drag fest of a different kind, the makeup, wigs and performances would have won a big drag crown in any town and for that I give respect. Butt the Oscar hoooopllllladeedadeedadeeda is as annoying as watching a deaf drag queen perform and thus cancelled out anything good about the movie or the performances. It was like I never saw it and as far as I am concerned the best Effie is Niki Star of SF.


It's strange. I agree with you but still loved it. Jennifer Hudson's performance made me re-evaluate acting. I've never seen anyone pour their heart out on screen like that. Unreal. The irony of the musical is that it's telling the story of one of the greatest musical genre's in American history and the music sucks. Bill Condon needed to listen to "Heat Wave" a few times. And as for Beyonce...sigh. She was well, Beyonce. A very pretty Stepford-esque singer without a single original thought in her tiny brain. I don't hate her. At least I can turn my computer on without seeing her crotch all over the place. But she is on the blah side. I too freaked when she said "fucking bullshit". Awesome.

I guess what I'm saying is that even in spite of all that. Jennifer Hudson is enough to love this movie. Something I can't say about any other movie I've ever seen. And I'm alone in this so far, but I thought she was smokin hot.


Bravo, Rich! Thanks for breaking it down. I had never seen the play but I can't say I liked the movie at all (though I loved Eddie Murphy). The thing that I found supremely baffling was the supposedly showstopping "And I'm Telling You..." number. Why is this sexy, confident, tough woman--who hasn't groveled for anything or anyone up until this moment--suddenly begging some man (and by inference everyone else) to love her? It made absolutely no sense except to showcase a power ballad. No sense at all. Was Effie a n insecure groveler in the play?


I'm going to have to disagree about Hard Candy. It was never meant to be a "message movie." It's Godzilla versus Dracula.


It wasn't a total waste of time, just mostly. And I want to shoot people who deliver standing ovations in movie theatres. Even if it is the Ziegield. It was like everyone was so desperate to feel something that they were completely able to overlook the overblown-ness of it all.

I saw it a few hours after the vastly superior and emotionally engaging Pan's Labyrinth so that added to the letdown. I really wanted to like the movie, but let's face it, the music was bloody awful (except a few of the earlier numbers) and I invested zero in the characters on an emotional level, even Effie. The only thing I loved were the costumes and set design but that does not make a movie.

jim c

during the scene when beyonce is leaving jamie foxx in their mansion, someone in the audience chanted "to the left, to the left" and the crowd lost it.


Sweetie, I don't mean to be off topic, but have you seen this?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!


And here I was thinking that she was starting to look better...


see - now because of one of these comments i had to call and ask the supreme being of all things dreamgirl - my mother - whether or not Effie died in the broadway musical. she did not. so just fyi that was not a rewrite for Jennifer Hudson - as if she would say "change this or i'm not plyaing it". Puhleeze. she doesn't have that kind of clout and probably was just ecstatic to be offered the chance to play this role that she will poably win an Oscar for. they could have told her she would, in the final scene, give birth to alien monkey twins and she would have still done it. as would any other first time actor.

But as far as this review - dammit Rich! I liked the movie, which is why it pains me to say that i agree with everything you said. i'm torn up inside over knowing a movie could use major work but still loving it anyway. :)


Crap! I just re-read the earlier comment - it said jennifer Holiday - not Jennifer Hudson!! (I needs to learn how to read!!) oops! BUT - my position still stands that a then unknown - 21 year old Jennifer Holiday would not turn down a role on Broadway or demand an entire ending - not a scene, not a line, but an entire ending - be re-written. :)

"Gayest" Neil

Effie did die in the original version of it, however the rewrite was for Jennifer Holliday, not Hudson.

From Answers.com:

The original Broadway production of Dreamgirls starred Sheryl Lee Ralph as Deena Jones,Jennifer Holliday as Effie White, Loretta Devine as Lorrell Robinson, Ben Harney as Curtis Taylor, Jr., Cleavant Derricks as James "Thunder" Early, and Obba Babatunde as C. C. White. Dreamgirls proved to be a star-making vehicle for several of its performers, particularly Holliday, whose performance as Effie received significant praise. In early versions of the play, the character Effie died, and Jennifer Holliday originally refused to be in the show. When no suitable replacement could be found, the story was re-written, making both Effie and Deena, and not just Deena, the main characters of the story.


Boo!! Loon Neil! Don't you never ever ever never correct me if I'm wrong!! :) Crap I hate being wrong.


Wait - when did Beyonce say "fuck" in the movie???

I thought that the movie was okay...what saved it of course, is Jennifer Hudson. Everyone in the audience clapped & cheered after almost all her singing scenes.


"It's sci-fi for aliens."

Kiss me, you genius!


this made me laugh: When I heard Beyoncé utter the film's sole "fuck," I almost ejaculated.

great review- i hate movie musicals. this just cements the fact that i will never see dreamgirls.

and ps-http://viceland.com/int/dd.php?id=590&country=us


um the music? was awesome. i can't believe you rich. we usually agree on everything. but you're talking to someone who grew up going to an insanely funky black gospel church every sunday, playing the piano in the choir, listening and memorizing every motown track ever laid down. the music is the shit. i haven't heard bass and drums that sick since tower of power. the only weak link is that fucking insipid Beyonce and her song obviously doesn't match the rest of the score. you gotta give it up for the vocalists and musicians.


On another note your review of Dreamgirls reminded me of how much hatred I hold for another "message" movie - Crash (the newer one with Don Cheadle and Sandra Bullock and the like). Now THAT was a piece of pompous trash.

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