‘Joyful Noise’ offers joyful message
Prepare for a wholesome musical and comedic entertainment delight with “Joyful Noise.” The film pairs Queen Latifah, as a self-righteous, arch conservative church choir director, and Dolly Parton, as a newly-widowed choir member who is open to change, quick-witted and quick with a creative verbal insult.
“Noise” has a mostly contemporary politically correct manner for placing traditional value judgments on the plate, particularly with teens, adults, Christians, and authority figures disagreeing but “getting along.”
“Joyful Noise” skews toward something like “The Preacher’s Wife” with absorbing adolescent struggles akin to “Footloose” and the easily identifiable anguish of legendary director 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 – for both 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 Latifah 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 patience and grandmotherly wisdom in pushing her favorable “change.”
Latifah represents a crushed, overly-protective, single mom unwilling to let her kids be themselves. Catch the restaurant food fight for one hilarious clash of diva pride. Listen for the Parton’s reinvention of a swear word phrase, too.
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.
When I saw “Joyful Noise,” the audience reluctantly left the theater, 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.