This past weekend my mom and my sister and I went to see Dremagirls because it finally opened here. Let me begin by saying that I LOVE musicals and that I have a discerning enough sensibility to understand the difference between a musical and a rock opera (or, in this case, a Motown opera). I was extremely disappointed in the movie.
The plot was ludicrously predictable, the music was over the top, the “musical” moments were ridiculously sentimental and the movie’s story progressed in irritating fits and starts – some scenes took eons to end and then transition-free jumps ten years forward without many visual cues. I think the writers and directors would have been better off committing to doing an actual Supremes biopic (with real Supremes music!) instead of pussyfooting around with this bastardization.
I understand that this is actually a screen adaptation of a Broadway musical; however, it did not translate well to film. Its momentary forays into the genre of rock opera were tentative and sporadic – not enough to be committed to the style, but enough to make you sit there thinking “What the hell?” as you check your watch every 30 seconds to see how much longer ‘til the movie is over. This film lacked the commitment to the genre to make us believe it as a musical and, as a result, became more soap opera than rock opera, with random and seemingly haphazard outbursts of singing.
Beyonce’s performance was lamely milquetoast - I can’t stand to see a character so sickly sweet and without any realistic grit, someone with whom the audience could possibly identify. Give us a character we can root for or against, but don’t shine the spotlight on such a lame wallflower.
As I see it, there were only two good things about this movie but, from where I stand, they were good enough to earn some award-season recognition but not enough to make it worth watching the movie. First is Jennifer Hudson’s performance. Though I’m not a fan of raving vocals that climb up and down three sets of scales at a riff (or whatever the hell you call it), her vocals were soulful and her performance was excellent. I love her, and I hope we see more of her. The second great thing was the makeup and costuming, which was absolutely fantastic. It was, perhaps, the most enjoyable aspect of the movie, flashy and dazzling at every turn. I even loved the wigs and jewelry, and when do I ever notice that stuff?
All in all, it gets two big thumbs down from me. If you want to see Jennifer Hudson, try YouTube or something. And if you want to see shots of the costumes, try IMDB or Google. Don’t waste your time going to the theatre only to spend the evening waiting for the movie to just be over. Save your money.