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Fighting Temptations

Don't fight the feeling. 

Year: 2003 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Fighting Temptations

About to land a big account, a top advertising executive (Cuba Gooding, Jr) is fired for lying and finds himself in debt. On the run, his grandmother dies and so he returns to his southern town roots where learning that, if he becomes the choir director and enters the Gospel Explosion in Atlanta, he will inherit $150,000. Unfortunately the choir leaves a lot to be desired and he has to start recruiting. Among the new recruits are three prisoners, a barbershop quartet, and, more importantly, a sinner (Beyonce Knowles) from the local night club. Will she win over the community with her voice? Will the choir win the contest? Where’s Whoopi Goldberg when you need her?

Ok, so the links to Sister Act are quite obvious from the start: city big-shot on the run escapes to a small community, builds up a choir from scratch and teaches (and learns) a thing or two about how much fun life can really be. And plenty of morals are thrown in for good measure. Yes, it may be predictable but this is equally a feel-good film; perfect for the exam season.

Cuba Gooding is back on track after a long line of flops since his Oscar win for Jerry Maguire, and the rest of the cast provide strong musical and comic talent. However, Beyonce stands out from the crowd, or should I say choir, and should be given praise as a credible actress and soulful songstress. Her performance of ‘Fever’ is scorching and the tensions between her ‘R&B sex music’ and the old fashioned choir members allow for some fantastic one-liners. If you’re not a fan of her and her bootylicious ways, you will soon be converted. Hallelujah!

The plot is formulaic, love blooms between the leads, but this is only used as a platform in between the musical routines, which will have you rocking in the aisles… or at least tapping your feet. You may not believe that gospel music saves the soul of a greedy advertising executive, but it certainly makes this movie one to watch.

Can I get an Amen with that!

Phil Lurie

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Summer Term (35mm)