Anyone stepping into a movie theater expecting Joyful Noise to be anything other than an extended length episode of Glee may find themselves highly disappointed.
Joyful Noise focuses on the Divinity Church Choir of Pacashau, Georgia, as they prepare for the National Joyful Noise Competition. Newly appointed choir director, Vi Rose Hill (Queen Latifah), feels the choir should stick with traditional gospel music, while the church's main source of income, G.G. Sparrow (Dolly Parton) believes that sticking with tradition is what always keeps them from winning the annual trophy. Also on G.G.'s side are her grandson from the wrong side of the tracks (Jeremy Jordan) and Vi Rose's daughter, Olivia (Keke Palmer).
The movie brings nothing new to the table, especially if you've ever seen anything that slightly resembles this one. Sister Act, Sister Act 2, Glee - it's clear that they are all sources of inspiration for this film. However, in order to make us forget that we've seen these plot lines before, Joyful Noise throws in every dramatic twist imaginable - death, autism, forbidden romance, doubting religion, family secrets, war, job loss, parent seperation. It comes to a point where we no longer feel for these characters, but instead throw our heads back and moan, "Are you serious?"
We won't lie - we teared up on more than one occasion, but the movie would have worked a little better if they focused on one or two of the dramatic elements instead of trying to incorporate every one they could think of.
Someone else who should have just stopped is Dolly Parton's surgeon; her face has become legitimately frightening. Her acting is fine; she neither adds or takes away from the movie, but we're sure there's a woman in Hollywood with a real face that this role could have went to. Maybe Once Upon A Time is casting a witch in a gingerbread house that Parton could send her resume to...
The highlights of the movie were the group performances, especially those including Keke Palmer and Jeremy Jordan; "Man in the Mirror" and "Maybe I'm Amazed" are stand out tracks. The "Higher Medley" starts off great, but gets plain embarrassing when the choir busts out into a God-infused version of Usher's "Yeah."
We'll definitely be purchasing this soundtrack off of iTunes. Will we be buying the DVD? Probably when it appears in the $5 bin at Walmart, which let's be honest - won't be long after its release date...