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Movie Review: Dreamgirls

Alternate Title: Detroit Meets Chicago

Story: This is a thoroughly entertaining, toe-tapping, slightly flawed holiday movie that can be enjoyed by everyone. The well known Broadway play of the same name is about the origins of Motown records, Berry Gordy, Jr. and the tandem story of Diana Ross and the Supreme's. The film is finely directed and written by Bill Condon, based on the book by Tom Eyen.

We all know the story so I'll talk about the other stuff. The good news is that the movie musical is not dead. Everyone loves a feel-good, hard luck, rags to riches, everyone gets their due story and this movie delivers that in droves. Each character gets a punch and a kiss. And then there is the music. Head bobbing, toe-tapping and familiar - most everyone I looked at in the audience was smiling.

The flaws are slight, but mentionable. The film was too long. I know I complain about the length of films often, but I adhere to the less is more theory in most things. Edit, edit, edit and then edit again. This could have easily been cut by 15 or 20 minutes and been a much better film. There were many repetitive scenes and realization numbers. I got he point and felt some of the scenes were being pounded over my head.

Dreamgirls is about packaging, product and promotion. The film is about dreams and it sells.

Acting: Jennifer Hudson is the movie. You know her as one of the losers in the American Idol competition. She is terrific. She has spunk. She is sassy, soulful, can act and has quite a set of lungs. Jamie Foxx as the Motown entrepreneur was okay. He is a good actor and I felt he was holding back quite a bit. Beyonce Knowles is a face and a body and she can surely sing but I cannot give her many kudos in the acting department. Eddie Murphy is fabulous as the James Brown type character. I could not help but remember his imitations of this character on SNL years ago. Keith Robinson, Hinton Battle, Sharon Leal, Anika Noni Rose, Danny Glover were all good as well.

Predilection: None

Critters: None

Food: Surprisingly none.

Soundtrack: I enjoyed the music and admit that I stopped to buy the CD on my way home and am listening to it as I write.

Opening Titles: Extensive titles are at the end.

Theater Audience: A decent crowd the day after Christmas.

Sappy Factor: 2

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I started to look at my watch after one hour.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: I would not be surprised if Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy get supporting nods.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure.

Length: A bit over two hours.