Published Jan 12, 2012Writer/director Todd Graff brings viewers of all races the battle of the divas nobody ever expected, or asked for, in the intoxicatingly wholesome Joyful Noise.
The Christian-friendly film follows the Divine Church Choir, a group of mismatched misfits working hard to compete against other gospel groups in the Joyful Noise competition in L.A. However, rehearsing isn't going so smoothly, as the group must deal with the constant feuding of newly appointed Choir Director Vi Rose Hill (Queen Latifah) and G.G Sparrow (Dolly Parton), while also trying to adjust to G.G's rebellious grandson, Randy (Jeremy Jordan), who wishes to take the Choir in a new direction, not to mention his affection for Vi's daughter, Olivia. (Keke Palmer).
Although it's commendable that Todd Graff is able to integrate racial harmony in a film without ever addressing race once, there's nothing joyful about the noise filmgoers will be forced to hear unless, of course, they are Christian-loving Glee fans.
The most surprising thing about Joyful Noise is the lack of screen presence from the top-billed divas. Those expecting the ultimate "Dolly vs. Queen" battle will have to settle for a horribly staged food fight between the two ladies, which happens to be entertaining for all the wrong reasons.
Besides that, Queen Latifah's performance is reduced to scowling and praising Jesus, whereas Dolly Parton is simply put in the background of hip-hop songs (which is hilarious, mind you) and spouts sassy lines such as, "Fooling me is like the sunshine trying to get past a rooster."
The film also injects the most random and unintentionally funny sub-plots since Matthew McConaughey was repeatedly attacked by animals in Failure to Launch. If you ever wanted to see a character with Asperger's syndrome complain about classmates putting tissues full of excrement in his locker, a horribly choreographed fight sequence and a scene where an obese African-American woman gives a scrawny Asian man a fatal heart attack after sex, then Joyful Noise is for you.
It's safe to say that Joyful Noise doesn't hit the right notes and although there are fairly talented singer/actors starring in the film, not one of them can make any of the clichéd lines of dialogue sing. (Warner)