The Fighting Temptations


Directed by: Jonathan Lynn
Written by:Elizabeth Hunter, Saladin K. Patterson
Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr, Beyonce Knowles, Mike Epps, Wendell Pierce
Released: March 4, 2004
Grade: C

I flat out did not want to see this film.  My grade is reflective of this and too bad if I am being prejudice.  I left home at 12:20pm for a 12:40pm session and seriously contemplated missing the turn-off and going straight into work.  Do you see the seriousness of this statement?  I actually considered missing a movie to work instead.

But then I thought, well, what’s the point of that?  As a critic, I’m going to have to see this trash eventually whether it be at a theatre or at home on video.  So my car made the correct turn and veered in the direction of my nearest multiplex.  In the back of my mind I still hoped for a miracle.  Could the session be sold out leaving me the luxury of returning home?  I was kidding myself (and knew this for sure once I saw all the empty seats inside the theatre).

As I sat there waiting for it start, a painful memory came over me.  I had looked up this film earlier on the internet and it said the duration was 123 minutes.  Now that is a joke.  I tried thinking but couldn’t remember the last comedy I saw that was longer than two hours.  Something’s Gotta Give was 128 minutes but that was more of a romantic drama with a hint of comedy.

So let’s get down to the storyline.  Take a Panadol because this could leave you (as it did me) with a pain in the head.  Darren Hill (Gooding Jr) works in New York for an advertising agency.  He has just been fired because his boss has released his resume was bogus – he never did get a degree from Yale.  Darren likes living the high life but is up to his eyeballs in debt.  Every credit card he has is “maxed out”.

He is tracked down by a private investigator who gives him news that his aunt has passed away.  He has to return to the small Georgian town where he grew up for the funeral.  At the reading of the will, Darren is left stock to the value of $150,000 provided that he lead the church choir and win a bible song contest called the Gospel Explosion.  What were the screenwriters thinking?  So despite knowing nothing about music, he bluffs his way through, recruits a bunch of misfits and finds a lead singer with a beautiful voice (Knowles).  Does he win?  You’ll have to see the film to find out.  Oh hang on, in that case then yes, they win.  And he undergoes a big moral change in the process.

Just have a look at the poster for The Fighting Temptations.  Certainly the worst of the year and how it can encourage any patron to attend is beyond me.  If you do see it, I suggest taking a pen and paper.  Then you can compete with your friends in the latest quiz sensation – “How Many Plot Holes Can You Find?”  My score was 86.