Film review | Joyful Noise – Sweetness and Slight: Queen Latifah & Dolly Parton trade songs and insults

Joyful Noise - DOLLY PARTON as G.G. Sparrow, KEKE PALMER as Olivia Hill and QUEEN LATIFAH as Vi Rose Hill

Larger than life and twice as loud, Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton trade snappy one-liners and spirited musical numbers in Joyful Noise, an enjoyably corny musical comedy about a gospel choir seeking to uplift a depressed Southern town.

Latifah’s Vi Rose and Parton’s G.G. are the biggest noises in the Divinity Church choir of Pacashau, Georgia, but their testy rivalry becomes even more intense after Vi unexpectedly succeeds G.G.’s husband (Kris Kristofferson) to the role of choir director. Wealthy G.G., the church’s Lady Bountiful, wants the choir to move with the times and introduce contemporary songs, but hard-up Vi wants to stick with tradition.

Adding to the discord between them, G.G.’s unruly grandson (Jeremy Jordan) then turns up and promptly falls for Vi’s pretty daughter (Keke Palmer). Will it be sour notes or harmony as the choir strives to boost the town’s spirits by winning a national choir competition?

Joyful Noise is nothing if not predictable, so you can easily guess the outcome, although the town’s recessionary hardships do provide some surprising grit in the molasses. That said, Joyful Noise is very much a feel-good crowd-pleaser with its leading ladies exchanging tasty dollops of Southern-fried wisdom amid the sassy insults. Latifah gets the lion’s share of screen time, but it’s Parton who gets the best lines. ‘There’s always free cheese in the mousetrap, but trust me, the mice there ain’t happy,’ is one of her zingers, while elsewhere she goes in for typical self-mockery, offering the unassailable insight that ‘God didn’t make plastic surgeons so they could starve.’

On general release from Friday 29th June.

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