Review: The Fighting Temptations

“The Fighting Temptations” could be renamed “Sister Act III- The Protestant Reformation.” Cuba Gooding, Jr. picks up where Whoopie Goldberg left off. Instead of a lounge singer running from the mob and finding refuge in a nunnery, Gooding plays an out-of-work junior advertising exec with bill collectors on his tail who hides out in a small-town, Georgia Baptist Church.
Backstory shows a young Darrin (Gooding) and Lilly singing in the church choir. After service there is a verbal altercation between the church’s self-appointed keeper-of-the-ancient-ways and Darrin’s lounge-singer mother that results in her expulsion from the church choir. She leaves the church and takes Darrin with her as she pursues the life of an itinerant singer.
Fast forward to the present. Darrin gets canned from this ad agency job on the same day he finds out his Aunt Sally has died. He returns to the small Georgia town of his boyhood, attends the funeral and hears the reading of the will. To his delight, Aunt Sally has left him stock worth $150 G’s – on the condition that he direct the church choir and lead them to victory in the Gospel Explosion choir festival (is this starting to sound familiar?).
Darrin’s challenge is to recruit choir members who can actually carry a tune in the proverbial bucket, and mold them into a harmonious unit rather than a bickering crowd of individuals. As luck would have it, The O’Jays run the local barber shop; Melba Moore is a long time choir member; T-Bone is incarcerated at the local penitentiary; and Beyoncé Knowles (Lilly) is the local lounge singer who has been ostracized by the same self-appointed keeper-of-the-ancient-ways. Playing Lilly doesn’t seem to be much of a stretch for Beyoncé, a professing believer who has probably heard all the same criticisms from the church (the songs you sing; the way you dress; the places you perform).
While the plot is predictable, the dialogue sparkles, the acting is superb, and the music is explosive. Shirley Caesar lights up the screen at Aunt Sally’s funeral, and supplies the foil for a huge laugh as Darrin complements her singing. “You’re pretty good.” Well, Duh! The O’Jays redefine the term “barbershop quartet” with a fabulous rendition of Paul Simon’s “Love Me Like A Rock.” T-Bone employs his trademark, machinegun-fire rap, and 6’8″ Montell Jordan is hilarious with his high-pitched falsetto. Mary Mary, Yolanda Adams, Donnie McClurkin, Angie Stone, Faith Evans – the list goes on. The soundtrack alone is worth the price of admission.

“The Fighting Temptations” is rated PG-13 for suggestive language.
“The Fighting Temptations” features the acting and singing talents of: Cuba Gooding, Jr., Beyoncé Knowles, The O’Jays, Melba Moore, T-Bone, Shirley Caesar, Montell Jordan, Mary Mary, Yolanda Adams, Donnie McClurkin, Angie Stone, Faith Evans and more.


Enjoy this website? Please spread the word :)