by Max Zänker
“The Fighting Temptations” has a typical sports movie plot. It sets an unprivileged team into a chanceless contest that they have to win.
Right from the beginning, it is clear that they are going to make it. A fired and broke down marketing manager, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., has to make a run-down gospel choir win a competition to receive his aunt’s heir with gorgeous Beyonce Knowles by his side.
“The Fighting Temptations” gambles with the “Sister Act” spirit and loses, because Gooding struggles with transferring his former humorous energy, shown in movies like “Jerry Maguire,” to his role as a gospel leader.
The too obvious plot twists and the monotonous story, which wastes conflicts and the chances to pick up pace from them, makes it an uninspired and unexciting film, leaving Beyonce Knowles alone as the only temptation to spend money on.
The audience might enjoy most of the movie’s characters. They might like Darren Hill, the cheating New York manager, who comes to his hometown Montecarlo, Georgia, for his aunt’s funeral, and ends up managing the gospel choir his mother (Faith Evans) was thrown out of by Paulina Pritchet (LaTanya Richardson).
The male spectators will of course love Beyonce Knowles, performing as lead singer Lilly.
The audience will be fond of the whole choir ensemble from the singing barbers to the organ-playing farmer, to the rapping and jamming prisoners (T-Bone, Montell Jordan and Chris Cole).
The characters are funny, interesting, and worth getting to know more about, but the plot does not satisfy this desire.
With the exception of the main characters, the rest of the cast appear and disappear, without any chance to get familiar with them. Not that there is no time for that, the film is two hours, three minutes. But it wastes time letting Pritchet, who is jealous of Hill’s role as the choir leader, create conflict after conflict, which are all solved by song after song.
Audiences could like this movie if only the director gave them the opportunity to fall in love with the characters. But as they only fly by singing, it is just another attempt to make money from an uninspired movie and music celebrity mix.
The film has the stars and the music to be a big hit. Unfortunately, it lacks a plot, suspense and spirit.