Joyful Noise

Film (with rating): Joyful Noise (PG-13)


Warner Bros.


Summary: A
small-town choir and its feuding choir leaders (Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton)
set out to win a national competition despite overwhelming odds and obstacles.


Perhaps it’s because I’m addicted to “Glee” episodes streaming
online. Or maybe because I have watched “9 to 5″ three dozen times.
Or that I was one of the 19 people who loved “Beauty Shop.” Whatever
the reason, I found “Joyful Noise” surprisingly enjoyable. At first
blush, the film looked to be at risk for major clichs, canned lines and syrupy
song numbers. But in reality, the Todd Graff-directed piece turned out to be
rather charming. The insane musical talents–not just of Parton and Latifah, but
of the entire cast– greased the wheels of “Noise” so that it sailed
right past most of the sticky parts. It’s like “Glee” and
“Footloose” and “Sister Act” with a sprinkle of “Steel
Magnolias” for good measure. Parton showcased her trademark feistiness,
portraying G.G. with enough Southern spunk and fire to please her fans. And
really, who doesn’t like Dolly Parton? The woman is an icon.


As is Latifah. With her character bent on keeping the church
choir as traditional as possible, she clashes with G.G., who feels a more modern
twist is needed. The two dish out some campy lines, but also some hysterical
ones. A great scene is where G.G. pokes fun of her “facial
enhancements” during a food fight with Vi Rose (Latifah), who tells G.G.
she may have lost herself in the world of cosmetic alterations.


“God didn’t make plastic surgeons so they could
starve,” snapped G.G.


The movie features things fans of “Glee” or big
booming voices will love: strong characters, predictable plot twists, romance
and lots and lots of singing. The singing, in fact, stole the show.
“Noise” is not going to win any Oscars for Best Screenplay, but it
will entertain you and make you tap your toe to the beat. Or belt out a diva
song in the shower.


Extra highlight:
“Make Some Noise” or, for the Blu-Ray, “Spotlight on a Song:
Dolly Parton’s ‘From Here to the Moon'”


What to serve for dinner: In the snappy food-fight scene, G.G. tosses a
handful of spaghetti at Vi Rose. So serve up a plate full of Fettuccini with
Salsa Cruda and Feta ( Happy Meatless Monday, everyone!


1 pound fresh fettuccine pasta

5 ripe tomatoes, chopped

1/2 small red onion, chopped

1 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped

1-2 teaspoons of minced garlic to taste

freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup crumbled feta cheese


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add
fettuccini and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. In a medium
bowl combine tomatoes, onion, basil, olives, garlic and black pepper. Toss the
fettuccini with olive oil. Serve pasta topped with tomato mixture and feta


What to talk about over dinner: What was your favorite song? Who else could have
played G.G. and Vi Rose? What is your favorite Dolly Parton song? How has she
lasted this long in the spotlight? Was the movie too predictable, or
comfortably so? If you could sing like that, what would you do with that
talent? Why do so many great singers get self-destructive? What song do you
sing in the shower? What song do you think you know the words to, but really
just make up the lyrics as you go along? What was your favorite scene from
“9 to 5?” How much work has Dolly done on her face? Is she different
than the average Hollywood star because she’s so open about the plastic
surgery? Who has the worst plastic surgery in Hollywood?