DREAMGIRLS is a very weak film. I went in wanting to like it, but it just doesn't stand up. The story is slow and predictable, full of cliches, and characters are all one-dimensional. The entire movie is very claustrophobic, all taking place on various stages and never existing in the real world (even though the film sets itself up as an historical epic by trying to incorporate visual icons of the era, albeit in a very clumsy fashion). Performances are better than the movie deserves. Beyonce is much better than might be expected. Newcomer Jennifer Hudson is a standout, but someone needs to tell her there is more to singing than yelling. The music is pretty weak; I don't think there's single memorable melody in the show, and the songs are non-stop. I don't remember one dialogue scene in the film. The effect of all this is very draining, and not in a good way. In the climax of the film all I could think was "Does this song EVER end???" The film starts feeling long about two-thirds of the way through.
It's a shame, as movie musicals are making a comeback, that we have such a conservative and old-fashioned attempt at filmmaking when movies like MOULIN ROUGE clearly show that taking chances is worthwhile.