Movie Review: 'A Joyful Noise' a fun musical comedy, lacks muscle
There are several things wrong with the music comedy "A Joyful Noise," now playing he Fandango Galaxy cineplex in Carson City and elsewhere.
But those faults are outweighed by the music, a contemporary kind of gospel that moves nicely but lacks the true feeling of gospel singing. And the leads are just fine — Queen Latifah as Vi Rose Hill, Dolly Parton as G.G. Sparrow and the exuberant and lovely Keke Palmer as Vi's daughter Olivia.
Best part of the film is the singing of the choir as the opening credits roll. The music is spirited and almost as good as real gospel music. The rest of the music (by Mervyn Warren) is OK but not inspiring.
G.G.'s husband Bernard (Kris Kristofferson) dies while leading the church choir and G.G. expects to become the choir leader. But the sanctimonious pastor picks Vi.
The choir goes to a competition singing old arrangement and loses, but then G.G.'s grandson appears and takes up with Olivia (she's 16 but already a beauty with a solid gospel voice).
The rest of the compilcations are fairly routine. The pastor Dale (Courtney B. Vance) doesn't like modern arrangements and won't back the choir going to the national competition. But G.G. works it out and the choir enters the competition. Does the local choir win? Guess.
Parton and Queen are solid in their roles, and Palmer is a scene stealer. The script is pretty unimaginative but enough to hang modern gospel on.
Nice to see Parton and admire how she often takes a backseat to let the newcomers strut their stuff. Queen is big and bossy just as she should be.
The film is rated PG-13, but there's nothing to corrupt an kid these days. It runs less than two hours, which is just about right.
— Sam Bauman
- Queen Latifah as Vi Rose Hill
- Dolly Parton as G.G. Sparrow
- Keke Palmer as Olivia Hill, Vi's daughter
- Jeremy Jordan as Randy Garrity, Sparrow's grandson
- Dexter Darden as Walter Hill, Vi's son
- Courtney B. Vance as Pastor Dale
- Kris Kristofferson as Bernard Sparrow, G.G's late husband
- Angela Grovey as Earla, the choir's choreographer
- Paul Woolfolk as Manny, a young guitarist with and interest in Olivia
- Francis Jue as Ang Hsu, a choir member who is attracted to Earla
- Jesse L. Martin as Marcus Hill, Vi Rose's estranged husband
- Andy Karl as Caleb, a choir member whose family loses its business
- Dequina Moore as Devonne, a talkative choir member
- Roy Huang as Justin, Earla's second lover
- Judd Lormand as Officer Darrel Lino
- Ivan Kelley Jr. as the soloist of the Our Lady of Perpetual Tears choir
- Kirk Franklin as Baylor Sykes, the choir leader for a rival churc
- Directed by Todd Graff
- Produced by Broderick Johnson, Andrew Kosove, Michael Nathanson, Joseph Farrell, Catherine Paura
- Written by Todd Graff
- Music by Mervyn Warren
- Cinematography David Boyd
- Editing by Kathryn Himoff