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Joyful Noise? WTF? 

Musical comedy runs gamut from weird to awful

click to enlarge 600_joyful_noise4_120111.jpg
Chaste romances, churchy speechifying, gospel-ized pop songs and surprising weirdness abound Joyful Noise, a movie wherein Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton grapple over the direction of their competitive choir group as well as their respective families. Writer-director Todd Graff loads the film with subplots, like the forbidden love between Latifah’s daughter and Parton’s grandson, that overwhelm the main story, and WTF moments that overwhelm the senses. At times, like an intergenerational catfight in which Parton hurls dinner rolls at Latifah, the movie is so aggressively awful that it nearly punches its way into a pleasantly surreal alternate dimension, but these states of bizarro grace are rare and fleeting. Worse, the musical numbers---save for an energetic finale---aren’t joyful or noisy enough to drown out the shortcomings in the storytelling.


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