Who's in It:
Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Jennifer Hudson, Anika Noni Rose, Keith Robinson, Sharon Leal, Danny Glover
The Basics: It's the story of the Supremes but not exactly because the member who was cast out in real life, Florence Ballard, died miserably in the 1970s. And no one (not any of the belting soul divas, at least) gets to die miserably in a big splashy glamour-musical like this. There must be tears and love and incredible costumes and wigs and gay signifiers flying around like mosquitoes. That's Broadway law.
What's the Deal? Modern musicals, unless they're out-of-control nuts like Moulin Rouge, don't often ring my bell. But this one pushed all my pleasure buttons. I like to fake like I'm Mr. Hardcore but, in fact, I dig the girl-group thing more than anyone should. So I was in before the opening credits rolled, really. I'm also now officially a bandwagon jumper because Hudson really is crazy-good here, the kind of woman who can knock down a building by singing at it.
What's Wrong With It: They talk too much, and it's a little long-ish, so it gets draggy. And the "music industry is bad" story isn't exactly breaking news. Meanwhile, Foxx earns weakest link status, like Jack Nicholson in The Departed.
What's Right With It: Everything else. When it's on, it's really on. It's also the first Murphy role I've enjoyed in, gosh, forever. And Beyoncé deserves as much praise as Hudson for taking her role in exactly the opposite direction, the small to Hudson's big. Anyone who's heard Destiny's Child knows that for her to play a singer whose voice, to quote the script, "has no personality," is a stretch the first one she's had to make in her short film career.
Don't Be Getting Up and Going to Get Popcorn During: Hudson singing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" or Beyoncé's big last song called "Listen."