Dreamgirls is a collision between three colossal forces: Bill Condon's talent as a writer-director, Beyonce Knowles' blank ambition to be some kind of media mogul, and DreamWorks' desire to make this movie as broadly marketable and palatable as possible. The result? A concert show without teeth, an entertaining evening dotted with great moments that have ultimately little consequence. If any stage musical deserved to blossom on film, it was this one. What we're left with at its end, though, is a bud that's barely opened. It just doesn't work. Not like Chicago did.
Dreamgirls is being flogged and blogged to death, so you don't need to hear what I think about Eddie Murphy (sweet and schticky), Jennifer Hudson (Jennifer Holliday remains peerless) and Beyonce (on a personality EKG, she's flatlining, and her solo number "Listen" is a shameless musical anachronism). If you really want the scoop on the movie's ups and downs, I refer you to A.O. Scott, whom I don't usually care for but who gets it exactly right this time.