Dreamgirls

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Dreamgirls
Review (8.5/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

In "Dreamgirls", Jamie Foxx plays Curtis Taylor, a Motown talent agent who discovers the Dreamettes, a talented musical trio that consists of Effie (Jennifer Hudson), Deena (Beyonce Knowles) and Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose). The gals are hired to sing back-up for James "Thunder" Early (Eddie Murphy), a cigarette-smoking, drug-snorting, womanizing, James Brown replica. Curtis soon realizes the phenomenal group are an attraction on their own. Deena becomes the lead singer, replacing the much more robust Effie and from this point on, we are taken through the astonishing journey that the girls experience as they rise from basically three unknowns to one of the most popular groups in the U.S. of A.

I have to tell you that I am not a big fan of the musical. I liked "Moulin Rouge" a lot, did not like "Chicago" and really can't think if there is another single one that I have ever bothered to watch (although if you consider "Wizard of Oz" a musical, it's one of my favourite movies ever). With that being said, I was pretty much blown away by Dreamgirls. The movie got a standing ovation at the end of the screening I attended and I can assure you it was well-deserved. Well, let me correct myself - Jennifer Hudson got a standing ovation. The rest of the movie just got a hearty, but also well-deserved, applause. I don't think I've ever seen anything like that at any movie I've ever seen in my life.

Before I get into Jennifer Hudson, let me just comment on the other aspects of this movie, if I may. The story, the directing and the musical numbers are all outstanding. The cast of "Dreamgirls" is excellent - Beyonce is great and does a song towards the end of the movie that is one for the ages. Jamie Foxx, Danny Glover, Anika Noni Rose, Sharon Leal are all very good (although Foxx seemed a bit subdued). Eddie Murphy is everything you've probably heard about in this movie and more. Dreamgirls is to Eddie Murphy what Pulp Fiction was to John Travolta. He should get an Oscar nod for his role. He was that good. He absolutely killed as Thunder Early and really brought a lot of emotion to the movie. This isn't the role that we have come to expect from Eddie, at least not in many, many years. Too bad he's such a jackass. Just ask Scary Spice.

And then there's Jennifer Hudson. The former American Idol, the "no name" in the movie, the one who the general public has not heard about. Jennifer Hudson is just phenomenal. A sure-fire Oscar nominee. I won't get into the whole "Best Actress" or "Best Supporting Actress" debate because I'm on a tight schedule right now but I will say that she is the show-stopper in Dreamgirls. Her one big musical number is out of this world and might be the most dramatic moment of any movie this year. She is the character for whom you will feel, for whom you will cheer and for whom you will want to get out of your seat and applaud when the credits begin to roll.

I heard in May about "Dreamgirls". I heard that it was projected to be a multiple Oscar nominee and one of the best movies of the year. I have to admit, I rolled my eyes and thought, "great, another Chicago". The thought of Eddie Murphy in a good movie was pretty humourous too. Really, the guy has been in one bomb after another and it was at the point where I wondered why anyone would even pay him anymore to step in front of the camera. Well, I was wrong and everyone who spread the early word on "Dreamgirls" was right. "Dreamgirls" starts out a bit slow but it doesn't take long to become completely enthralled by this movie. Without a doubt, this is a modern day cinematic masterpiece and arguably one of the greatest musicals ever made.

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