“Director Bill Condon brings Tom Eyen’s Tony award-winning Broadway musical to the big screen in a tale of dreams, stardom, and the high cost of success in the cutthroat recording industry. The time is the 1960s, and singers Effie (Jennifer Hudson), Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose), and Deena (Beyoncé Knowles) are about to find out just what it’s like to have their wildest dreams come true. Discovered at a local talent show by ambitious manager Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jamie Foxx), the trio known as “the Dreamettes” is soon offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of opening for popular singer James “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy). Subsequently molded into an unstoppable hit machine by Taylor and propelled into the spotlight as “the Dreams,” the girls quickly find their bid for the big time taking priority over personal friendship as Taylor edges out the ultra-talented Effie so that the more beautiful Deena can become the face of the group. Now, as the crossover act continues to dominate the airwaves, the small-town girls with big-city dreams slowly begin to realize that the true cost of fame may be higher than any of them ever anticipated.”
“Dreamgirls” is rated PG-13 for language, some sexuality and drug content.
All that being said, “Dreamgirls” does feature some great performances. Not only do the actors have to portray their characters, the have to sing and dance, too. All of them end up doing a fantastic job. As you’ve probably heard, Jennifer Hudson more than holds her own against the more seasoned cast members. She went from “American Idol” to the Oscars. She is most notable because she came out of nowhere and pulled this off. It will be interesting to see what she does in the future. Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, and Jamie Foxx all deliver memorable performances as well. It’s a wise career move for Murphy whose only recent hits have been family films.
If you enjoy musicals or if you’re an established fan of “Dreamgirls,” this is required viewing for you. Fans of the lead actors and actresses will enjoy it a lot, too. This film features some of the best performances of their careers. I think anyone that enjoys Motown or Diana Ross will also be interested in seeing this musical as it is inspired by them.
There are a ton of bonus features on this 2-Disc set. Kicking things off are 13 Extended and Alternate Scenes. They total 36 minutes of extra footage. Most of them are extended musical performances from the film. You see more of the talent show acts, a scene of Eddie Murphy getting in a bar fight after hitting on a woman, a new musical number after the Dreamgirls have a song ripped off, and more of the Jackson 5 copy. Also heavily advertised is a new performance by Jennifer Hudson. We hear more of “One Night Only” and also get more of the disco version.
Continuing the extras is the music video “Listen” by Beyoncé Knowles. In it she bobs her head and preaches on as she sings during the photo shoot from the film. “Building the Dream” is a 2 hour documentary on the making of the movie. It has everything you’d expect from a ‘making of’ feature. They talk a lot about bringing the musical from stage to the screen. You’ll also find featurettes on film editing, costume design, theatrical lighting, and more. Screentests from Beyoncé Knowles and Anika Noni are included. Also look for an image gallery and previsualization sequences featuring live actors and actresses.