From what you know about me, you might know I am not a religious man. I tend to rate religious movies lower, but never because of their content about religion, but more so they just end up being poorly made, bad acting, etc.
Despite this, I actually like Gospel Music. I have been to at least one Gospel Fest in my life (and I felt like the only white guy there). It’s just generally so happy and full of spirit, and fun to dance to. So what happens when we get a movie about Gospel music? Depends. I loved Sister Act (and even its sequel!), but can a more modern version in Joyful Noise make me happy as well?
Then again, it might just be some bullshit Diva off, like another bad movie.
What we have is a small town church in Georgia, that somehow has a bunch of good singers in it. Their choir director, Kris Kristofferson, dies! Well, shit. The church board (of this small town church, mind you) chooses Queen Latifah to run the group now. Dolly Parton is upset, she wants to lead it, she and Kris were close, and she is the main monetary benefactor to the church. Oh well. No big deal. Latifah also has a daughter, Olivia (Keke Palmer) and she is the main star of the choir (at least she is now!). She also has a son with Aspergers who is blind (Dexter Darden). No big deal, but he has problems adjusting.
Husband? Oh he is in the army again, couldn’t find work, so Jesse L. Martin got the job to pay for their life, but can’t ever be with them.
Dolly Parton has a rebellious grandson though. Randy (Jeremy Jordan) and he has come to mess things up. He is interested in Olivia, and gets into her life by agreeing to teach her blind brother how to play the piano, and sing! Eventually he even gets to join the Choir. Latifah doesn’t like him, bad influence, and he wants to do new fangled songs with the choir, not old safe boring ones. Oh yeah, they also are of course entered into a competition for gospel choirs, and they never win though. Others just are better. They just keep getting second. But this year? Could they win? Could they even go to a national competition in LA and win that too? They’d have to beat a choir of angelic preteen singers! Oh noes!
Oh yeah, also drama with the Church pastor (Courtney B. Vance), wanting the traditional stuff. One of their members having a lot of her potential suitors dying (Angela Grovey), more than one boy interested in Olivia, and a family torn apart by the military.
The main two singing stars ended up being these two people. These people aren’t Queen Latifah or Dolly Parton.
Did you read that plot outline? It goes a lot of places, and is pretty weak. The way they win their first competition is pretty bad, but it makes sense. The results of the national competition don’t make sense either (guess who wins!). It is one of those times when the winners clearly didn’t do as good as the other people. (I hate that a lot more than when one side clearly does worse and they still tie). A lot of overacting, and some weird actual fighting between characters. All in the name of Jesus.
BUT. The songs are pretty damn good. Some of the songs in the movie are just quick snippets, including I’m In Love With A Stripper. But besides that, they also go the Sister Act route and turn the melodies and tunes of normal songs and Jesusify them, so that everyone is happy. Instead of a theme, like Motwon songs, they take them from a span of decades and it is really fun to listen to.
What? My rating apparently is just based on that. That part was entertaining, but I liked the music. Won’t watch it again, but man, might download the CD. Maybe.
2 out of 4.