But, first the trailers…
Hairspray - Memo to the movie industry: when a two-minute movie trailer consists entirely of a voiceover reading off the names of every known and unknown commodity in said movie…without any scenes from the movie…it should lose its "trailer" status. It's like someone said, "Hey, I found this on imdb. Start from the top." Anyways, it's got John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah and Amanda Bynes. At this writing, it's still not known which man (Travolta or Latifah) will break gender to play that-ain't-no-woman, "Edna Turnblad". How divine!
Daddy's Little Girls - An addendum to my "Black Movies" post: You know it's a Black Movie if the possessive tense of "Tyler Perry" appears in the title. That brutha owns more Black enterprise than the ancestors of those who owned his…um, I mean "David Stern". Yeah, he owns more Blacks than David Stern. There, that's less offensive, no? Here, a down-on-his-luck mechanic finds love outside his socio-economic bracket and fights to keep his three daughters from his trashy ex-wife. What I most remember is the trailer voiceover guy using his "serious" tone to read the name "Oscar winner Lou Gossett, Jr." alongside (in the same tone) WB n' UPN mainstays "Tracie Ellis Ross" and "Terri J. Vaughn". Two of these things do not belong.
Because I Said So - Trailer opens with a succession of flat booties in ostensibly "sexy teen!" underwear, then pans to Diane Keaton, 102, in her high-top granny draws. The other perfect twentysomething girls in the dressing room start panty-mocking, blissfully unaware that all of their asses appear to be…just like Old Mother Keaton's. I can't be the only to have noticed this. This flick's about finding love and a mother letting go, then possibly finding love herself. Alternate movie title: "Lifetime, Television for Women: The Movie".
Music & Lyrics - Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant star in a formula film that Barrymore has perfected: relatively normal girl meets quirky boy. Damn it, Drew, quit giving hope to awkward teens! Let those kids suffer in silence on their Saturday nights with either their Dungeons or their Dragons. Grant's the washed-up pop star, Barrymore's the perky gal who, ten years ago, would've ended up with Bill Paxton or Bill Pullman if we could turn the casting machine back to 1997.
It was "date night" for Mr. & Mrs. Bootleg last Thursday. I opted for Dreamgirls, which was actually my first musical since Stephen Bochco's Cop Rock left the air. Unless you've been living under a rock and don't read Jet, Essence or Ebony magazines, you probably know that this is the cinematic adaptation of the successful Broadway musical.
The cast is a who's who of assimilated Negroes, including Jaime Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy and former American Idol hopeful Jennifer Hudson.
Entertainingly elementary, Dreamgirls is not unlike really good porn as concepts like "plot" and "character development" take a back seat to the real action sequences. Hudson has no business being discussed as an Oscar candidate (her acting range here is limited to "pout" and "pissed"), but damn she can blow.
Murphy is also being touted for his performance and it's better than I thought it would be. He's really just lampooning himself, but he chews up the scenery with a desperate zest and personality that's lacking from Jaime Foxx and Beyonce. Those two display zero chemistry in roles that call for them to display, well, zero chemistry and they have trouble pulling that off.
The second act drags and the climactic comeuppance for Foxx's incorrigible Curtis Taylor character is inexplicably convenient, but the music is strong and, often spectacular, so I'll look the other way on the negatives.