Monday, August 27, 2012
REWIND REVIEW: Joyful Noise
Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton
January 13, 2012
Warner Bros. Pictures
1 hour 58 minutes
It probably makes sense that 'Joyful Noise' was dumped into theaters back in January, because this film is utter trash. It stars Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton in her comeback performance to the big screen. All these actresses are good at doing in this film is singing, which is why this could be considered to be a musical. Warner Brothers released another "jukebox musical" earlier this summer called 'Rock of Ages.' Unlike 'Rock of Ages,' 'Joyful Noise' is a dull, unfunny, and poorly written movie that will go down as one of the year's worst movies. Thank goodness I caught this on DVD; It's sort of fun to make fun of a movie with your family around you.
In a small town in Georgia, there is a church with a singing choir that picks the spirits of its fellow Christians up. In that singing group are two rival singers who secretly want to kill one another. The first lady is a single mom with two kids at home and a husband in the army. The second lady was the wife of the late leader of the church group, and her mischievous grandson who's coming to live with her. The grandson happens to take interest in the daughter of his grandmother's rival, so things get crazy from there. At the same time, the church is losing money and won't be able to support the choir so they can get to a nationwide singing competition in LA, so the choir has to work together in order to win the competition and save the church from being torn down.
The worst thing about this film HAS to be the horrendous script, which was written by the film's director Todd Graff. Graff was probably trying to make a likable family film with some light comedy, a friendly story, and some heart about life, the war, and disabilities. Unfortunately for the script, it has too much going on in it. There's one story about two rival choir members, a story about two kids being in love, a story about a kid with a disability, a story with a father in the war, and a subplot about a member of the choir trying to find love while her best friend tries to be the comedic relief. If that's too much for you, then wait until certain things happen to certain characters for no reason at all and that will make you say to yourself "What the Frick?" The direction of this film is also pretty horrendous, but that's only because the script is so bad as well. This must have been some passion project for the writer/director, because it seems that he had all of the control over this movie and made it the way he wanted to. Good for him. Sadly enough, it's not good enough for anyone else. If there's ANYTHING good to come out of this movie, it's one of the subplots in the film, which involves the disabled son of Queen Latifah's character.
I will say that this movie only had one redeeming factor: the subplot involving Dolly Parton's grandson, played by Jeremy Jordan in a decent performance, and Queen Latifah's son, played by Dexter Darden. Latifah's son in the film has Aspergers syndrome (something I can relate to) and is very passionate about music. Latifah can't let go of her kids due to her husband being in the army, so she doesn't fully understand how gifted her son is. I liked the chemistry between Jordan and Darden quite a bit. There is even a scene involving a hidden area in the woods that did put a little smile on my face. If this story was an entire movie, then chances are it would have been a whole lot more enjoyable than the entire 118 minute running time that this movie lasts.
There isn't even a lot to say about the acting, because they were all just meh. Some of them were trying to give it all they got, but the rest were just trying to be either awful comedic reliefs or someone that gives the film a little bit of heart. This movie could have been "meh." It could have had fewer stories, a shorter running time, and better writing. Unfortunately I have to call this movie an awful film. Rarely do I ever say this about movies, but this is truly an awful film. The story is bad, the script is terrible, and the direction is very weak. I don't know why Warner Bros. even decided to make this movie, and why they thought this would make money. This is the type of film that would be released on DVD only and people would somehow find accidentally. 'Joyful Noise' is unquestionably one of the most horrendous and awful movies to have come out in 2012 so far, and that's saying something due to some pretty good films that came out after this.