RUTHERFORD ON FILM: Try a Little "Joyful Noise" to Help Make You Feel Whole

by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
RUTHERFORD ON FILM: Try a Little "Joyful Noise" to Help Make You Feel Whole

Prepare for a wholesome musical and comedic entertainment delight. “Joyful Noise” pairs Queen  Latifah, as a self-righteous, arch conservative church choir director, and Dolly Parton, as a newly widowed  open to change,  quick-witted and quick to creatively verbally insult choir member.

“Noise”  has a mostly contemporarily politically correct manner for placing traditional value judgments on the plate, particularly teens, adults, Christians, and authority figures disagreeing but “getting along” sans physical violence.

Unlike a country music bio (e.g. “I Walk the Line”), “Joyful Noise” skews more toward “Preacher’s Wife” with  absorbing  adolescent struggles akin to “Footloose” and the easily identifiable anguish of legendary John Hughes.  “Breakfast Club” and “Pretty in Pink” focuses on outsiders, while “Noise” examines the pressures on Christian teens to set higher moral standards than their peers.

Conflict abounds --- in the adults and teens --- but strong communication, heartfelt expression of feelings, and steadying spontaneous disrespectful emotions (i.e. don’t burn the bridge yet) has positive forbearance for 21st century tendencies of lightning, irrefutable  conduct.

Parton and Latifath ignite chemistry essentially playing themselves.  Parton’s part has a resemblance to  Barbara Eden’s  hypocrisy exposing  “Harper Valley P.T.A.”, yet, Parton has more waiting on God patience and grandmotherly wisdom in pushing her favorable  “change” with times musically  and behaviorally.

Latifath represents a crushed, overly-protective, single mom unwilling to let her kids be themselves, within limits. Catch the Latifah and Parton restaurant food fight for one hilarious clash of diva pride.  Listen for the Parton’s reinvention of a swear word phrase, too.

Toe tapping, clap and sway contemporary faith and praise lifts all spirits (and denominations).  The highly charged, intricately choreographed, and inspirational songs performed in “show choir” mode have greater spiritual warmth (and acceptance) than hell fires and damnation sermons.

RUTHERFORD ON FILM: Try a Little "Joyful Noise" to Help Make You Feel Whole

 When I saw “Joyful Noise,” the audience reluctantly left the theatre, most staying in their seats for the end credits tune. Seldom would a reviewer quote viewers, but this flick is the exception: “I like it” and “I love it” were common reactions, including a few energetic ones that danced in the aisle to the music.

(Reviewers Note: While not evangelical like "Fireproof," "Joyful Noise" is safe for other than extremely conservative-minded church groups. Acceptance of interracial coupling a must, so that Pikeville congregation which made national headlines might not give this one an A.)

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