Dreamgirls (2006)

It’s always difficult to adapt entertainment from one genre to the next. For example, only rarely does a film accurately portray what really goes on in the book. Similarly, a successful Broadway musical, like Dreamgirls, is quite the challenge to adapt to the big screen.

With that said, a star studded cast put forth an outstanding effort to convey the energy of musical theater onto film. This includes Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Beyonce Knowles, Danny Glover and Jennifer Hudson of American Idol runner up "fame." The plot is loosely based on the real life climb to stardom of Diana Ross and the Supremes. Why we need to thinly disguise the real basis of the story, I’m still not quite sure. The play apparently gets done in two acts, the first is the mid 60’s, and the second is the mid 70’s which the film follows as well.

While the musical choreography and vocals were well done, I will admit that at times the plot ran thin. On more than one occasion I felt like I was watching a Motown video more than a film. Rather than have some meaningful dialogue at several points that would clarify where things were going, the screenplay too easily resorted to yet another song. In a live Broadway show it would seem more appropriate, but in the film it feels somewhat overdone.

Still, Dreamgirls is quite entertaining. It is enjoyable to hear how the music progresses during the decade represented in the film. Some historical footage of relevant news is interspersed, and this serves to give the music some context. When you want some Motown tunes, and can’t get tickets for a Broadway show, then Dreamgirls should be a reasonable substitute. Jennifer Hudson’s vocals are excellent, and the audience must continually wonder how she didn’t win on American Idol. Just bear in mind where Dreamgirls came from because as a film on its own, its merely average.

Overall Grade: B

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