In addition, acting from the leads leaves a lot to be desired. Jamie Foxx proved beyond doubt he has the chops for a musical movie like this with his Oscar-winning performance in "Ray" two years ago. Yet his Curtis Taylor is flat and unimpressive. Beyonce Knowles,  whose singing is fantastic, also gives a lackluster performance. The alleged romance and marriage between Curtis and Deena is completely unconvincing.

Where the film shines is in the supporting roles of Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy. Hudson, a former "American Idol" contestant, seemingly throws her heart and soul into the stubborn Effie. Murphy’s steals every scene he’s in as the crazy Jimmy Early. His dancing, singing, and hyperactive delivery seem to simultaneously channel Jackie Wilson, Little Richard and every other over-the-top R&B performer from the early rock-and-roll era you could name. Murphy’s performance of a lifetime is a joy to watch, and leaves you thinking he just doesn’t get enough screen time.

Eventually the main players wise up to the self-serving Curtis. Although it seemingly takes years for them to finally look beyond the carrot of success he dangles in front of them all.  Over their careers the friends and family hurt one another and reconcile. If the movie’s message is “be sure your sins will find you out,” it is portrayed rather ineffectively. Maybe we are meant to see an object lesson in the personal perils of fame and fortune.

Perhaps this story worked much better on stage, but as one of this year's most anticipated films, “Dreamgirls” is disappointing. Successful musicals on both stage and screen must exude a great deal of energy. “Dreamgirls” unfortunately has very little.

AUDIENCE:  Older teens and up

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Several scenes in night clubs and bars where people are drinking. Jimmy has a cocaine addiction and is shown with drug paraphernalia a few times.
  • Language/Profanity:  A small amount of profanity throughout the film.
  • Sex/Nudity:  Characters are shown in bed together twice, but nothing explicit. Jimmy is a notorious “ladies man” who cheats on his wife, and drives away his backup singers with his persistent advances. Effie and Curtis father a child out of wedlock.
  • Violence:  None to speak of.