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Dreamgirls


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I wasn't exactly frothing at the mouth to watch this film to begin with, but I like to give things a shot. I went in to Dream Girls with almost no expectations. I had no idea it was based on a Broadway show, I don't know who that american idol chick is, I neither love nor hate beyonce knowles. All I knew about it is I wanted to see a good eddie murphy performance, and Bill Condon (Kinsey) directed it.

 

This was by far the worst thing I've seen this year and the worst film I've seen in a good while. Dream girls is a soul sucking 2 and a half hour long approximation of the career of the supremes and the era of motown. I say approximation, because they couldn't obtain the rights to any real songs. This ranges from tolerably vague ripoffs of supremes songs, to a monumentally bad ripoff of "ABC" by the Jackson 5 titled "Boy Meets Girl." This creates a few problems. For one thing, this having been a broadway show, most of the songs don't really sound like motown at all, they just sound like Broadway songs, only sung by black people. Rent encounters the same problem. Putting guitars in it doesn't make it rock, and Putting black people in it doesn't make it R&B. It's the same tired ass broadway music with the same "build up to an excessive climax" structure that you heard in the 40's.

Another problem with the music is that we will reach a point in the plot where a character writes some kind of masterpeice, which happens like 3 times. And then we hear it and it's no fucking masterpeice by the Supremes, it's just some shit that some white dude named Henry Krieger wrote.

 

Anyways; so, the music is mediocre to bad, and thats at least half of the movie right there. The rest of the film involves servicable performances by the dreamgirls (beyonce, american idol girl jennifer hundson, other chick) a decent performance by Eddie Murphy, a phoned in job by Jamie Fox, and a surprising 1 minute cameo by Jaleel White.

 

There's also the insulting direction and production design that lets us know what era we're in. Shit like newspapers with Vietnam headlines flying at the screen, a character that just has a huge picture of the current president on their wall, random newsreels between scenes letting us know the social climate. The editing, by the way, is out of a fucking burger king commercial or something. I counted 3 times that they used the lame transition where they're rehearsing for a song, and the camera circles around them and all of a sudden there's an audience in front of them at the apollo or something.

 

Also, you might not even kow that this is a musical. I don't just mean the characters performing music, I mean characters breaking into song off stage. Well, the movie doesn't let you know this untill an hour into it, and when I first heard a character just start singing, I was kind of confused, but I went along with it until I realized that every time a character feels something, we must hear about it, in no great detail, but with great repetition, volume, and sustain in an unnecesarry song. Every song is just a completely on the nose description of what the character felt in the previous scene, in case you missed it. When one character actually began a song with the lines "Look at me, I am changing," the room I was in finally broke that bad movie barrier into laughter. And it only got worse.

 

Anyways, the only people I know who liked this are a couple of musical theater kids; the kind that don't discriminate quality as long as there's lots of harmonizing going on, and already knew every word of the show before they saw it. Anyways, this movie makes Rent look like Singing in the Rain. It's not just an affront to filmmaking, it's an affront to narrative storytelling in general.

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