It is big and showy and loud, but director Bill Condon's attempts to make the movie more socially relevant than the theatrical production instead just highlight what little soul was there in the first place.
It reserves singing and dancing for the stage until Jamie Foxx just randomly bursts into verse while strolling down the street. Dreamgirls wants to be Effie but ends up as Deena: thin, smooth, unburdened by a personality.
It's a laugh-out-loud moment when a hot R&B song is forever entombed as Pat Boone-style fluff. But that same sort of sanitization and sterilization has been applied to this film. Scrubbed clean for a shiny glow, most of the soul is gone from the story.
The 1981 Broadway musical lumbers onto the screen saddled with clichés from every showbiz story ever made about the rags-to-riches saga along with songs that can't hold a candle to the Motown classics.