Rated PG-13; Directed by Bill Condon; Starring Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Anika Noni Rose
“Dreamgirls” finally showed up in Flagstaff and it was worth the wait. This Broadway musical comes to the big screen with its story of a girl group who finds fame, heartbreak, happiness, heartbreak, and more happiness all to a musical backdrop. It also has some outstanding performances.
The Dreamettes include their leader Effie (Jennifer Hudson), shy Deena (Beyoncé Knowles), and bubbly Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose). There is Curtis Taylor (Jamie Foxx), who ends up as the girls’ manager, and James “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy) the boisterous star. We watch the Dreamettes start as backups to Early to eventually becoming stars of their own, but at a cost to all.
This cast can sing. Beyoncé Knowles holds her own as the beautiful backup singer made a star. Anika Noni Rose has the thankless supporting role to the other two Dreamettes and makes it special. It is Jennifer Hudson, in the fiery role of Effie, who steals the show – in her very first film mind you. Though she didn’t win “American Idol,” she sure wins in this role. Like Hudson, Eddie Murphy stands out playing someone with a wild side.
The movie opens with a wild dose of music and doesn’t let up. There are some standout numbers, but as many of the songs are not memorable this is the weakest point to the musical. It is also hard to tell a time-spanning story that starts from the early 1960s to the 70s disco era. Sometimes it felt like connecting scenes were cut to keep the movie close to a respectable two hours.
“Dreamgirls” packs some great performances, a good story, great performances, some okay music, and did I say great performances? Don’t miss it.