Joyful Noise is full of, well, joyful noise – at least when the music is playin’. Unfortunately, the movie slows down quite a bit between numbers. In other words, you have to be willing to forgive a heaping spoonful of preachy dialogue and contrived plot to truly enjoy the show. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a sweet, warm-hearted flick that should satisfy fans of the music competition genre (i.e. Gleeks). It’s just not as good as I hoped or expected it to be. I blame the trailer, which gives up all the best lines and high notes.
The movie opens amid a rousing number from the Sacred Divinity Church Choir in Pacashau, Georgia. When tragedy befalls the choir director (played ever so briefly by Kris Kristofferson), Vi Rose Hill (Queen Latifah) is named the new director, over her bitter rival G.G. Sparrow (Dolly Parton). Vi Rose is a working mother struggling to keep the family afloat while her husband is away indefinitely at an Army base. And G.G. is a surgically-enhanced grandma with a lot of spunk and a steady cashflow.
The two women rarely see eye-to-eye, and it gets even worse when G.G’s rebellious grandson Randy (Jeremy Jordan) comes to town and sets his romantic sights on Vi’s “good girl” daughter Olivia (Kiki Palmer).
Ultimately, everyone must work together to achieve harmony if they are to have a prayer of winning the prestigious Joyful Noise national church choir competition in Los Angeles. The whole town is counting on them. Can they do it?
If you have a little faith in Hollywood endings, you probably know the answer.