i wonder what musical has the greatest percentage of the film taken up by songs. i’m not talking music, like koyaanisqatsi which has a score running through 100% of the film, nor am i talking merely about singing, like umbrellas of cherbourg which has all of its dialog sung. rather, i’m talking about individual songs within the film. i’d venture a guess that about half this film is comprised of one song or another.
this film is awful from the first lines to the last. the first lines are some forced b.s. given by a woman who is storming away in a cab. danny glover, eddie murphy’s manager, chases her down and begs her to stay to sing backup for murphy. she says something like “i have his number…his phone number…to his house….where his wife is.” it’s supposed to be sassy and smart and indicate what kind of philanderer eddie murphy is, but it comes off as forced and written, rather than naturalistic. really, though, this is the nature of the beast. musicals can’t be natural or real because their entire basis is on fantasy. the great musicals either rein this in and use the musical form in expressionistic and organic ways (music man, my fair lady, sound of music) or roll with the art form (willy wonka and the chocolate factory, mary poppins). this film tries to do both and thus it fails. the over-hyped acting is so-so at best, the dialogue is awful, most of the music is okay, the direction is straight out of the opening sequence of the jay leno show, and the story has been told a million times.
as bad as this film was it wasn’t the worst one that was playing at the theater. about an hour and a half through the film, during one of the many lengthy songs i left the theater intending to never return. i walked into a theater that was playing epic movie and sat down for about five minutes. in this five minutes i realized that watching the last hour of that movie was even less appetizing than watching the final 40 minutes of dreamgirls, and so i returned to my seat and toughed it out. from justin to kelly is another film with an (actually two) american idol in a major role. the thing that made that movie more entertaining, though, was that it was shorter, bad in a funny way, and had lower expectations. that said, this film had better songs and a message.Watched in theater