Joyful Noise

Posted 05/11/2012


Joyful Noise
How has nobody ever thought to put Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah together in a movie before? They’re both wildly multitalented divas with outsize personalities—and outsize curves to match. Now the two iconic ladies join forces in what seems to be the perfect joint project: ‘Joyful Noise,’ an ode to family, faith, and music.

‘Joyful Noise’ follows the church choir in a small Georgia town, anchored by wealthy, ebullient G.G. (Parton) and straight-laced, hardworking Vi Rose (Latifah), as they compete to win a national competition. While G.G.’s grandson Randy (Broadway performer Jeremy Jordan, doubtless soon to become a Hollywood teen heartthrob) and Vi Rose’s daughter Olivia (Keke Palmer, displaying considerable vocal prowess) want to shake up the group’s repertoire to snag the prize, Vi Rose is determined to hew to church tradition.

It’s not difficult to predict how ‘Joyful Noise’ will play out, but it’s a blast to see Dolly and Latifah play off each other, and the younger actors prove they are definitely up-and-coming talents to watch. By turns funny and moving, ‘Noise’ resonates with a heartfelt message about love, loyalty, and never giving up.

What’s good about it: The music is soaring and uplifting, from covers like Palmer’s gospel take on Michael Jackson’s ‘Man in the Mirror’ to Parton’s original composition—which sounds like a classic—’Not Enough.’

What’s not so good: At times the movie’s sentimentality veers into corny territory. To wit: Parton’s duet with her husband’s ghost (another original song, ‘From Here to the Moon and Back’) is lovely musically, but the scene is mawkish.