DREAMGIRLS

MOVIE REVIEWS BY DAVE SMITH

 

It took some 25 years for Dreamgirls to make it from Broadway to film. But it's finally in movie theaters and it's doing well. There is a lot of Oscar talk about it. It's being touted as "Best Picture." Jennifer Hudson may win an Oscar for "Best Supporting Actress." Then again, it might win nothing. There are good reasons for both scenarios. Director Bill Condon was the screenwriter for the highly successful Chicago. However he did not direct it. Rob Marshall did. Condon directs as well as writes for Dreamgirls. It might have been better if Marshall had directed. Condon wastes a lot of time trying to come up with some very impressive trick shots. It doesn't work. He also does not have the editing ability of Marshall. Chicago moved at a frenetic pace. Dreamgirls has stretches of overlong, lengthy numbers.

Yes, the talent is tremendous. Condon doesn't seem to know how to best showcase that talent. We should be overwhelmed with Jennifer Hudson's talent. Instead we are wondering "when is this number going to end?" Perhaps some of the fault is with the musical itself. I'm not sure because I have not seen the Broadway production. However it used to be that songs in the great musicals of the past were much better worked into the plot. In this film, we are never sure when a scene is going to be legitimately dramatic or when the actor is suddenly going to launch into a conversational type song.

On the plus side is Eddie Murphy's performance. This is by far the best work he has ever done. He will get an Oscar nod and hopefully will win. Jennifer Hudson may do the same. The picture however does not deserve a "Best Picture" Oscar. It simply is not a strong enough movie especially when you consider it will be going up against "Little Miss Sunshine," "Letters from Iwo Jima," "The Departed," "Babel" and "The Queen."

 

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