It’s difficult to watch Joyful Noise without thinking that this movie is a remake of Sister Act 2, minus all the nuns. Familiar themes and plot threads are prevalent, such as the Gospel competition and the conflict between classic gospel songs and more contemporary music. Also, there are a few patches of questionable performances and Disney Channel acting sprinkled throughout the first hour of the film. However, like any musical, it’s hard to not be uplifted by the music. Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton do a superb job of blending their unique singing styles into various Gospel songs. Broadway performer Jeremy Jordan joins Keke Palmer for a handful of duets that are just as good. Although Joyful Noise is a far cry from the greatest movie you’ll watch, it’s feel-good story and toe-tapping music (especially from the children’s choir) will leave you with a bright smile.
Joyful Noise centers on a small-town choir. When the choir leader (Kris Kristofferson) and Dolly’s husband passes away, Latifah (as Vi Rose Hill) takes over the choir. It creates a small rift between her and Dolly (as G.G. Sparrow) since G.G. was hoping for the role. To make matters worse, G.G.’s grandson shows up in town and takes a liking to Vi’s daughter, Olivia (Palmer). The story focuses on the choir’s attempts to finally win the Gospel competition. However, there are several basic family conflicts that arise. Vi’s son has Asperger syndrome and her husband has reenlisted in the military. The situation has left Vi especially defensive and protective of her children. So when G.G.’s son enters the scene, he begins to create the classic wedge between mother and daughter.
While the story may not be memorable, it’s a joy to see Dolly and Latifah on camera together. The two both have larger than life personalities so it makes for a great pairing. They may not get along outside of Church, but when they sing, their voices are in perfect harmony. This is one film where the music really helps to push along the story. The songs alone will keep you watching, especially if you like Gospel music.
The Blu-ray release comes with a sprinkling of short 5-minute featurettes. These behind-the-scenes videos focus on Writer/Director Todd Graff’s inspiration for the movie as well as Dolly’s involvement in writing several songs. You will also get to see some footage of a promotional tour for the film, where Dolly and Latifah sing “He’s Everything” live.
- Spotlight on a Song: Dolly Parton’s “From Here to the Moon”
- Inspiration of Joyful Noise
- Make Some Noise
- Leading Ladies
- He’s Everything Live
- Extended Songs
- Deleted Scene