I completely forgot one of the movies I watched (Movies watched while recuperating)! Must be the narcotics.
"Joyful Noise" is an extremely light comedy/musical about a small-town church choir that wants to compete on a national level. Parton (Gigi) plays the widow of the former choir director, and Latifah (Vi Rose) plays the new choir director. The trailers make it appear as if the two women are battling over control of the choir, and this is misleading in fact. They have very different styles, but they both want the same thing: for the choir to get to the national competition. In addition, Gigi's grandson is in love with Vi Rose's daughter.
This film could have been so much better. The script is full of trite dialogue and ridiculous scenes (such as when Gigi gets informed--after her husband's funeral--that the church has decided to have Vi Rose take over the choir...or "God didn't make plastic surgeons so they could starve") The film is a bit of a mess, really.
Gigi is almost a minor role, and I must say that her severely surgeried face really became a distraction to me. I have such admiration for Dolly Parton, and I love her voice, but what a shame she's allowed her appearance to be so dramatically altered for the sake of vanity. Her face looks like it's plastered into position, with nary a movement.
The single most inspiring thing about this movie, beyond the fabulous music, is the multicultural community. The church is meant to be somewhere in Georgia, but it looks completely integrated. The movie is full of interracial romance (white/black, black/Asian), and race conflict is not present. It truly seems like some kind of Christian nirvana--everyone gets along (or fights, but not because of race).
At the end, however, when the choir journeys to Los Angeles to participate in the big competition, I was disgusted with all the glitz and production of these big churchy choirs and that type of Christian culture. Big church is not my thing.
Amazon "Christian" reviewers"of this film are disgusted because of the premarital sex and lack of "wholesome values" in the movie. (Another reason to like it!)
Keke Palmer and Jeremy Jordan, the young singers in the film, have beautiful voices, and I enjoyed every moment that Queen Latifah or Dolly Parton sang. This movie could have been SO MUCH MORE. Ultimately, it wasted some great talent, I'm sorry to say.
The final mash-up of songs in the choir competition was the best part, and I also liked Keke Palmer's rendition of "Man in the Mirror":