When Joyful Noise hit theaters this month, I was super excited to see all the familiar faces in the film. While I may not be a huge Queen Latifah or Dolly Parton fan, there were a number of my friends who were extras in the film which shot here in Atlanta last year. Some of those friends got quite a bit of face time in the flick, but after the movie screening I discovered there was a downside…. How to tell my friends that the movie wasn’t good. At all. Awkward….
The film tells the story of a small town in Georgia which has fallen on some hard times, and whenever a small southern town is in trouble – the town always turns to their church (Fairly predictable, yet still believable….). The Divinity Church Choir, has their eyes set on winning the National Joyful Noise Competition, but their songs and traditional performances may have them a bit outdated before they can even reach the finals. The strong women in the film, the choir’s newly appointed director, Vi Rose Hill (Latifah), loves the traditional style, while the choir’s purse strings, G.G. Sparrow (Parton), wants to liven it all up a bit. Can you guess how this will play out?
Under the main story arch there are several other stories to tell. The main one is that of G.G.’s grandson Randy (Jeremy Jordan) who has eyes for Vi Rose’s daughter Olivia (Keke Palmer). The sparks between these two cause even more friction between our two leads. Again, can you guess how this will play out?
The movie is predictable and corny, and the script itself isn’t any better. In fact, I would call it horrid. The scenes of short dialogue between Palmer and Jordan are so bland and generic that it was impossible for these actors to really make us feel invested in their characters. Parton and Latifah manage to do a better job with their lines, but only slightly as the whole film just falls flat despite the wonderful vocal talent it contains.
Yes, I know I’m not a member of the target demographic that Joyful Noise was aimed at, so my review is a little less than favorable. However, at the end of the day, bad writing is bad writing… Even if the sentiment of the movie was sweet and supposedly inspirational…. and even if you know several friends that appeared on the big screen with it.
Review By: Emma Loggins