Fighting Temptations

Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Cuba Gooding, Jr, Beyonce Knowles, Mike Epps, Faith Evans, Steve Harvey
Director: Jonathan Lynn

Movies featuring musical numbers have always been a hit or miss affair. There are cases when the movie becomes a hit like MOULIN ROUGE or the cult that is THE BLUES BROTHERS. THE FIGHTING TEMPTATIONS falls somewhere in between hit and miss even though it features an impressive musical cast.

Cuba Gooding Jr is the slick talking New York City advertising executive Darrin Hill, looking to work his way up the corporate ladder. Hill is fired when he is found out to have lied on his resume. With debt collectors closing in on him, Hill retreats to Montecarlo, his hometown, to attend the funeral and will reading of his late Aunt Sally. Hill is due to collect $150,000 inheritance but only if he takes charge of the local choir and lead them to victory at the annual Gospel Explosion competition.

With only a handful of members in a choir that used to number about forty or fifty, Hill’s job is not going to be an easy one. He starts tracking down singers who used to be in the choir, homing in especially on Lilly (Beyonce Knowles) who performs at a local jazz club. Lilly reluctantly agrees to audition, even though she was originally fired from the choir and she is also suspicious of Hill’s motives. With constant updates from a work colleague back in New York about the debt collectors and Hill’s need to tell people what they want to hear so that they will join the choir, Hill knows that his time is running out. Can he lead the choir to victory or will he sulk back to New York with his tail between his legs?

The first thing you will notice when the movie starts is that this is from the MTV stables. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The successful Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are two of the Executive Music Producers; so straight away you know the music will be good. The musical numbers and film editing elicit a lot of energy to the movie. Unfortunately, the drama in between the musical numbers comes across a bit flat. Not too sure whether it wants to be a comedy or a drama, this movie makes each non-musical scene seem like filler until the next music segment comes along. Cuba Gooding Jr is not at fault here either as he does his best with a script that is all too predictable. It is a shame that the same energy from the musical segments could not have been spread out more evenly throughout the movie.

3 out of 6 stars

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