Dreamgirls - Hudson Should Wake Up

Duration: 131min
Category: Musical
Available: On DVD
- add to my watch list
- tell a friend
And the winner for most overrated performance of the year is… Jennifer Hudson.

Yes, you’ve heard the hype about Dreamgirls and it is too good to be true. This American Idol is not Oscar material… but then again if Kim Basinger can win one then what do they really mean anyway?

Jennifer Hudson, a finalist on A.I., is being talked about as the next big thing. She’s the one to beat for Best Supporting Actress for this role. Honestly, I think those who make these sorts of lists are all smoking something crazy because this girl can not act. Well, she does fine but she doesn’t blow anyone away.

Alright, her vocals do. She belts these songs like there is no tomorrow. If you are from that school that thinks belting equals good singing (think Mariah or Whitney or Celine) then you will love Hudson. Even I was moved a bit by her singing. But honestly, singing is not acting. One can act while one sings and one can sing while one acts but the two are not the same and they never will be. They are two different skills and Hudson only has one.

Hudson gives her character one mood for the whole picture. She’s basically mad all the time. Hudson’s interpretation of mad means head bobbing and blinking. All she needed was the snapping and she would have been one horrible stereotype. Her performance really is based on stereotype. It’s one dimensional and a bit wooden.

Even when she’s singing, which is a lot, and sounding really good, she looks awkward. Her big number in the middle of Dreamgirls is a great example. Watch her flap her arms. She looks like she is trying to take off. She’s like a chicken trying to fly. It’s like she went to Celine Dion’s choreographer and said give me one arm movement to do over and over and again and all he could come up with was flapping. She does it through the whole song.

Hudson sings like a dream but her performance is amateurish at best. This is not worthy of an Oscar. And can someone explain to me who she is supporting in this role? I mean, she's kinda the main character yet everyone is calling her Best Supporting Actress. Is she not famous enough or not white enough?

Over all Dreamgirls is a generally good movie that is beautifully shot and for the most part competently acted. However it’s not brilliant. There is so much that keeps this movie average.

Director Condon does a nice job staging everything but he stumbles on the musical numbers. At first he wants to keep everything sung on stage but half way through he starts having the characters argue in song. Either it's realistic and the singing is all real or it's sung through and the characters converse in song. His approach is somewhat jarring. He never finds a way to balance these approaches.

Another problem isn’t his fault. The music in Dreamgirls is hit or miss. While some of the big numbers are show stoppers, so much of the rest is filler. For a musical to work you’ve got to be humming along with all the songs. Too many of these are forgettable.

Still, I feel like I am being too hard on Dreamgirls and Hudson in general. Her performance is passable for a singer, as is Beyonce’s and the rest of the cast. Both Murphy and Foxx have done better work. Still, the film is shiny and when they get a good number these women nail it. Dreamgirls ends up being entertaining but not very filling.

And Hudson should be up for a Grammy not an Oscar.

Review By: Collin Smith

Home | About Us | Cinemaphiles | Jack's Soap Box | Brainwaves | Quick Takes | Now Playing | the Vault | My WatchList