Studio: Warner Bros. (117 mins)
Plot: Two strong minded women clash over their choir group's direction as they head into a national competition.
Cast: Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer, Jesse L. Martin, Dexter Darden, Courtney B. Vance
Bottom Line: ***1/2
By Samantha Ofole-Prince
An exhilarating musical with rousing gospel numbers, “Joyful Noise” is a likable drama with a touch of humor that’s fairly engaging even when no one is singing.
The story circles around two strong-minded women played by Dana Owens (aka Queen Latifah) and Dolly Parton, who are forced to cooperate when a budget cut threatens to shut down their small-town choir. Despite being at odds, both Vi Rose (Latifah) and G.G. (Parton) have one thing in common: they love the choir. If only they can put their bickering aside, they just might be able to make their way to Los Angeles to take a shot at the Joyful Noise National Choir Competition. An Annual competition the choir has consistently failed to win.
“It’s obvious from the beginning of the film that G.G. and Vi Rose have a long history that has resulted in a lot of baggage, which keeps the friction going.” Parton elaborates “They are always at odds and just automatically rub each other the wrong way. So Dana and I purposely didn’t hang out together. We’d make snide remarks, saying these awful things to each other around the set, just like Vi and G.G. would. But it was all in fun.”
Shaking things up even more is the arrival of G.G.'s rebellious grandson, Randy (Jeremy Jordan) who has a crush on Vi Rose's teenage daughter, Olivia (Keke Palmer), but as the sparks fly between the young adults, the friction increases between their parents.
Directed by Todd Graff ("Camp," "Bandslam"), it’s a sweet, well-intentioned flick with an endearing cast. Nothing in the movie is surprising, but it's all pleasantly undemanding, like watching a rerun of a familiar show.
Also starring Jesse L. Martin, Dexter Darden and Courtney B. Vance as the dour preacher, ”Joyful Noise” is a full-throated, good-hearted musically driven story, which pulls from a variety of music genres.
With a title inspired by a national choir competition, it’s a movie that will soften even the most cynical moviegoer.
This was printed in the January 29, 2012 - February 11, 2012 Edition