Dreamgirls

Dreamgirls movie poster
MPAA rating: PG-13
Genre: Musical
The Broadway musical about a popular female singing group gets the big screen treatment, with stars Beyonce Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson.
Starring: Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Anika Noni Rose, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover
Director: Bill Condon
Running time: 2:11
'

Editorial Review

"Dreamgirls" arrives with more than its share of baggage; the 1981 hit Broadway musical is such a cherished icon that it has taken more than 20 years to be made into a movie. But forget "Was it worth the wait?" The burning question is "Did she do it?"

The answer is yes, "American Idol" finalist Jennifer Hudson takes full possession of the show-stealing character of Effie, nailing her signature number "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" (even with the original Effie, Jennifer Holliday, currently raising goose bumps on YouTube).

But despite Hudson's triumphant debut and an overall fizzy mood of singing, dancing, pop nostalgia and camp, "Dreamgirls" -- which tells the fictionalized story of Motown, the Supremes and the crossover of R&B music -- is an uneven success. Director Bill Condon plays it too safe, turning in a conventional musical (read: cornball and contrived) when something riskier would have been welcome. He also struggles with structure, overediting at the beginning and letting later sequences play far too long.

Jamie Foxx and Beyonce Knowles are largely wasted (Knowles finally gets her due in the last 10 minutes with the new showstopper "Listen"), but look out for Eddie Murphy, who jump-starts every scene he's in.

--Ann Hornaday (Dec. 25, 2006)

Contains profanity, some sexuality and drug use.