The Fighting Temptations

Bomb Rating: 

It's as if the transition genie snuck into the editing room when nobody was looking and stole all the transitions in the film and flew away with them on his magic carpet to whatever mystical world houses all the scenes in movies that connect one part of the story to another.

I suspect that director Jonathan ("My Cousin Vinny") Lynn was sitting around the editing room watching this film over and over again, saying to his editor, "You know, I just feel like there's something missing."

What's missing from "The Fighting Temptations" is any sort of transition. In fact, it's as if the transition genie snuck into the editing room when nobody was looking and stole all the transitions in the film and flew away with them on his magic carpet to whatever mystical world houses all the scenes in movies that connect one part of the story to another.

So when Darrin Hill (Cuba Gooding Jr.) inherits control of a gospel choir and begins to shape it with the help of his childhood sweetheart, Lilly (Beyonce Knowles), we get that scene where the lowly members of the choir meet and try to sing some tune and they suck so bad that we sit in the theater and think to ourselves, "However will Darrin bring this motley crew of singers together to win the big contest that will earn him the adoration of his hometown?"

At this point, one might expect Lynn to show us some scenes of the motley crew of gospel singers improving, coming together, practicing, or something. Instead, he just cuts to the scene of them singing better. Darrin, who has absolutely no experience directing a choir, just magically becomes a choir director. Lilly is resistant early on to even participating, but instead of having a scene where Darrin convinces her, Lynn just cuts to the scene of Lilly walking into the church with Darrin. Apparently, she's agreed. We just never saw the scene where it happened.

The whole thing moves forward like this: one scene after another of improvements and miraculous performances completely disconnected from the scenes that precede them. It seems that Lynn misunderstood that he was directing a movie about music and not a musical because the characters inexplicably break into song in much the same way as in a musical.

If you're interested in sitting down for a couple of hours and watching a group of misfits perform songs, this might be the movie. If you desire a coherent story, where each action leads logically to another action, give your money to a wandering street lunatic and ask him to tell you one -- you'll likely get a better result.

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