Fear of the Black.
If there were enough sun to tan where I lived, I would be a redneck. As it stands, the frigid northern climes have left me more of an intolerant, bug-eyed cavefish. I've got the same amount of guns and prejudices as rednecks, but I just don't look the part. But despite the particular shade of white trash my skin happens to me, I still approached Dreamgirls, the story of the birth of the Supremes, sort of, with as much trepidation as a trucker at a 50 Cent show. Every other guy gets to complain that they don’t like musicals because they’re gay, so I’m going to bitch about Dreamgirls because it’s got black people in it. But it turns out, the fact that the film is comprised off an all-negro cast wasn't as off-putting as I'd imagined. Rather, what's distancing about the film is that they break out in song as abruptly and suddenly as a drunk girl throws up at a party.
It's not that I'm inherently against musicals. Sure, they're gayer than lesions and swollen lymph nodes, but I'm tolerant enough for that. But there needs to be some sort of motivation to the musical numbers, other than an attempt to win a Golden Globe in a category that's easier to dominate than Best Drama. In a film like Chicago, all of the numbers were clearly established as fantasy sequences; in Rent, hallucinogenic reactions to anti-virals. However, in Dreamgirls, while many of the musical bits are diegetic, in that they take place within the context of the film, as performances or whatnot, there are about 3 or 4 scenes that are just characters bursting into song seemingly at random. As this occurs only a limited number of times, as opposed to consistently throughout the film, it always seems jarring, confusing, and uncalled for, like someone spitting in your face during sex after whispering sweet nothings in your ear.
So, Dreamgirls is weirdly incoherent and full of black people, so I probably should hate it. But I don't. Firstly, I'm not convinced that Beyonce is black. I think she's a Barbie-based robot covered in chocolate, the ultimate product for pre-teen girls and middle-aged men with early stage jungle fever. Plus, while the story is clichéd and as predictable as the last minute of a porn film, there are some great performances and some well-written roles. Every character is flawed, realistically, believably, and in some cases dramatically. Except, of course, for the chocolate robot, because the multi-national cybernetics conglomerate won't allow her to sully her image, and therefore impede Skynet's plan to become self-aware. Eddie Murphy's rising and falling soul singer is both well written and well played, and the numerous accolades Jennifer Hudson is receiving as the brassy, self-destructively arrogant yet supremely talented Effie are fully deserved. The music, if you're into that sort of that thing, is loud and ebullient, full of wildly ululating tones and jaws flapping like a marionette with a cut string. The costumes are glittery, the hair is big, and the set design and theatrical staging is enough to straighten even the limpest wrist in to a clapping position. Except for mine, because I'm busy grabbing my gun.
Underage? Read a PG-13 review at The Comic Book Bin. Then come over to my house and let me watch you touch yourself. Girls and effeminate boys only need apply.