Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole Ashland
Rated PG-13 for some language including a sexual reference
Markus Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars
Now playing at Century 20 Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California:
Kris Kristofferson, who briefly co-stars in this movie, had the right idea of dying within the first minute of “Joyful Noise”. Witten and directed with kid-gloves by Todd Graff (Bandslam) and starring what turned out to be one of the most annoying female duos in recent movie history in Queen Latifah (Chicago) and Dolly Parton (Nine to Five, Steel Magnolias), “Joyful Noise” is a film where I could attempt to explain how truly bad the acting was, or how hardly-there the script was or how corny and ill-advised this entire concept was to begin with, but rather than tell you (right away) I will show you, by giving you a sample line of dialogue (verbatim) used during the film, that was so corny, if doesn’t make you want to steer clear of “Joyful Noise”, there is not much more I (as a film critic) can do for you.
The Set-up: So Dolly Parton plays this woman in a gospel choir named G. G. Sparrow who doesn’t really like Queen Latifah’s angry black woman character by the name of Vi Rose Hill. Suffice to say, they fight a lot. During one of their countless fights Vi Rose and G.G. embark on this cringe inducing back and forth:
“G.G. Sparrow: Well, I am who I am.
Vi Rose: Well, maybe you were…five procedures ago!
G.G. Sparrow: Who cares if I’ve have a few little nips and tucks? God didn’t make plastic surgeons so they could starve!”
And with dialogue like that who needs dialogue. Ok, so I won’t hold it against you if that last bit has caused you to not want to read further (or killed reading for you indefinitely). But if you wish to read on, the rest of this review will be more of the same I assure you.
Synopsis: In a seemingly small Southern town that lives and dies not with their wavering employment rates or the fact that family owned businesses are going out of business left and right, but with how many national church choir championships they accumulate, the story follows G.G. Sparrow after the death of her husband (played by Kristofferson) and Vi Rose Hill as they jockey for position of the lead in their church choir. There is also a side story which involves Vi Rose’s teenage daughter and G.G.’s hokey to the extreme nephew, in a Disney Channel-esque forbidden love story. Ok, so even though “Joyful Noise” is nothing but (harmless) fluff (or the film equivalent of a purity ring) filled with enough poorly written God-talk to give Tyler Perry a run for his money, how can anyone take the wholesome /overall “holy message” this film is attempting to put forth seriously when Parton is standing there looking like the kid from “Mask”. Seriously though, with a script filled with horrible transitions, scene after scene of corny southern metaphors and inexplicably nonsensical and awkwardly unfunny running gags (one including a female member of the choir who develops an unsavory reputation after having slept with a man and the man promptly dying) everything about “Joyful Noise” (excluding the singing, which is actually quite good, aside from a few ridiculous songs) is God-awful.
Final Thought: If you want to see small children speaking in tongues in silly and overblown fashion for the Lord, witness a Jesus is my homie rendition of Usher’s hit song “Yeah” or see Dolly Parton who, with the help of some radical plastic surgery, has turned herself into a Muppet of a woman, then “Joyful Noise” is the movie you have been waiting for! And even if the only reason you want to see “Joyful Noise” is because you are a huge Dolly Parton fan, “Joyful Noise” may do nothing more than give you a woeful headache, not from the singing mind you, but because of the aforementioned asinine storyline and cringe inducting acting (excluding Latifah, who actually has a decent performance) that seems to allow this joyless film to overstay its welcome and then some. This is a Hallmark Channel movie at best, which may be the worst thing one could say about a movie.