2 hours, 5 minutes
PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.
for language, some sexuality and drug content.
DVD Exclusive Jennifer Hudson Performance; 12 Extended and Alternate Scenes; Music Video "Listen" by Beyoncé Knowles; "Building The Dream" Feature-length documentary; Image Gallery with over 1,100 images; Dream Logic: Film Editing; Dressing The Dreams: Costume Design; Center Stage: Theatrical Lighting; Dreamgirls – Beyoncé Knowles screen test; Ain’t No Party – Anika Noni Rose audition; Steppin’ To The Bad Side – Fatima Robinson choreography audition; Previsualization Sequences
This dazzling production was written for the screen and directed by Bill Condon who wrote the screenplay for "Chicago" and directed "Kinsey" and "Gods and Monsters." Based on Michael Bennett’s Tony Award-winning musical that opened on Broadway in 1981, "Dreamgirls" may even surpass the commercial success of "Chicago," as well as receiving a multitude of Oscar nominations.
The story is about an up-and-coming singing trio from Detroit in the 1960’s known as The Dreamettes. The trio features Effie (American Idol loser - Jennifer Hudson), Deena (Beyonce Knowles) and Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose). Their aggressive car salesman turned manager Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jamie Foxx), gets them an opportunity to sing back-up for popular R&B sensation James "Thunder" Early (Eddie Murphy) and together they turn around Early's floundering career. But as they become top-selling recording artists in their own right, as the newly-named Dreams, things begin to change, dramatically.
While "Dreamgirls" has never been acknowledged as being based on the rise and fall of the Supremes, it’s hard not to see the similarities. Deena is quite obviously based on Diana Ross, Curtis Taylor Jr. is Motown's impresario Berry Gordy and James "Thunder" Early is a cross between James Brown, Little Richard and Marvin Gaye. Condon has addded relevance to the film by injecting newsreel clips of the period and including other early Motown references such as appearances of a group that would easily pass for The Jacksons. But there's little doubt that the heart and soul of this film belongs to Effie, the stubborn, temperamental and extremely talented lead singer who is professionally and personally shoved aside by Curtis when he decides that the more beautiful Deena, should front the group. Refusing to give up her position and her lover, Effie sings the heartbreaking show-stopper "And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going." And it's Hudson who steals the film in her star-making feature film debut while recording superstar Beyonce Knowles, who, is perfectly cast as Deena, is almost unnoticeable until the second half.
But Jennifer Hudson’s not the only star you'll be hearing about during the awards season because Eddie Murphy has done his best work in years – if not ever. And there are also terrific performances by Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx, Tony-winner Anika Noni Rose, Keith Robinson as Effie’s songwriting baby brother and Danny Glover as Early’s manager.
But "Dreamgirls" is mostly about the music and the spectacularly filmed musical numbers. There are three additional songs that have been added to the original Broadway score (music by Henry Kreiger and lyrics by Tom Eyen). Kreiger's written the new music as well, with lyrics by a myriad of others including Beyonce. There’s little doubt that unless you don't like musicals, and there are plenty of people who don't; it will leave you feeling dazzled and excited when it's over. You’ll probably want to turn around and see it all over again, and that's what really makes a film a success.
Jamie Foxx ... Curtis Taylor, Jr.
Beyoncé Knowles ... Deena Jones
Eddie Murphy ... James "Thunder" Early
Danny Glover ... Marty Madison
Jennifer Hudson ... Effie White
Anika Noni Rose ... Lorrell Robinson
Keith Robinson ... C.C. White
Sharon Leal ... Michelle Morris
Hinton Battle ... Wayne