Published on November 12th, 2003 | by Ed Colley0
The Fighting Temptations
Cast: Cuba Gooding Jr., Beyoncé Knowles, Mike Epps, LaTanya Richardson, Faith Evans, Ann Nesby
In The Fighting Temptations Cuba Gooding, Jnr. plays Darrin Hill, a down-on-his-luck advertising executive who discovers he is the sole recipient of $150,000 from his late Aunt Sally’s estate. However, in order to get his hands on the cash, he has to lead Sally’s beloved Georgia church gospel choir to victory at the annual Gospel Explosion – the same choir that Darrin and his mother were pushed out of years earlier because of her ‘ungodly’ jazz singing. With the rag-tag members of the choir, it would seem victory is impossible – that is until Darrin runs into the beautiful and talented nightclub singer Lilly, who has a voice to rival Beyoncé Knowles. Which makes sense, as she’s played by, um, Beyoncé Knowles.
The Fighting Temptations is, simply put, a ‘Ronseal’ movie: does exactly what it says on the tin. There’s Cuba Gooding, Jnr. mugging for all he is worth as the fish out of water who gradually falls back in love with the pond he’s returned to. There’s Beyoncé Knowles, who’s not much cop as an actress but who is one helluva performer. There’s the old ‘will the loveable group of misfits overcome a multitude of obstacles and be victorious’ plot-line. There’s a considerable array of talented character actors bringing in a healthy number of laughs along the ways. Finally, but most importantly, there’s a barrelful of African-American Gospel music, performed by some of the best Gospel singers in God’s business: Rev. Shirley Caesar, Ann Nesby, T-Bone, Yolanda Adams and, best of all, the Blind Boys of Alabama.
And that’s pretty much all you need to know in order to decide whether you’re going to like this movie. Without wanting to sound like a tired old hack, if you loved Sister Act II, you’ll love this! If, on the other hand, you felt like throwing the nearest nun at the screen during Whoopee Goldberg’s finest moment, you could do well to stay away from The Fighting Temptations. But if you do, you’ll miss some pretty fine damn moments of musical glory, because as everyone knows, those Gospel singers get all the best tunes…