Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Re-Visiting The Sisters

One of those movies I inadvertently saw a lot as a kid was Sister Act, a light-hearted family comedy in which Whoopi Goldberg witnesses a murder and hides from the mob in a convent, where she teaches the nuns to sing classic R&B and, in the process, discovers herself. Or some such. Turns out it was a staple of Abby's late-childhood as well, so she purchased a copy of it and we re-watched it. Such exercises are always... interesting. Even movies that I really enjoyed in my early twenties have soured as I approach thirty (e.g., Boondock Saints, but that's a rant for another post). Sister Act came out when I was eleven. How does it hold up now?

Surprisingly well. The character motivations are at least believable, although I couldn't say how realistically convent life is portrayed. The plot points make sense and work together pretty well, considering the writing situation that gave birth to the film. The script was originally penned with Bette Midler in mind to star and went through seven writers before the Goldberg incarnation came to be--and that sort of thing can be devastating (I mean, have you SEEN Meet the Robinsons?). It worked out, but some of the seems show. "Going out into the community" was obviously supposed to be a major plot element at one point but got reduced to a montage. And a few scenes seem to revolve around the Whoopi-being-funny element a little too heavily.

But the movie never completely falls into the one-joke pit. And for a movie with such a heavy emphasis on music, at least they got the music right. The holy-shit-this-choir-can-rock-a-little moments are still smile-inducing, and despite the fact that they are accompanied by an invisible back-up band, the song sequences work. The conflict with the Mother Superior feels a little less genuine, but Maggie Smith pulls it off by virtue of being, well, Maggie Smith. Still, if Whoopi can hear her girls practicing from her cell, how did the Mother Superior not notice until Sunday morning that Ave Maria was getting the Supremes treatment.

On another note, WTF is up with the sex-appeal nun?

You know which one I'm talking about. The shy red-head who had the lion's share of the solos. The only one whose hair showed at all, and who wore the habit that was not-completely-figure-concealing. They set her apart for a reason. Not 100% sure what else it may have been.

Oh well. At least the sequel still sucks.

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1 comment:

Ben said...

Unfortunately, Boondock Saints was entertaining primarily because of it's tongue-in-cheek nature and, more importantly, the fact that we hadn't seen a real attempt at a quasi-parody of an action film yet.

In other words, what it really has going for it is novelty and nostalgia, both of which can wear off if there is nothing to bolster them.