The Fighting Temptations (2003)

Cuba Gooding Jr. in The Fighting Temptations (2003)

Not Tempting Enough

Slick ad executive Darrin Hill (Cuba Gooding Jr.) finds things in the city getting tough as he has maxed out his credit cards and has lost his job after it is discovered he faked his credentials. But as one door slams in his face another opens when he discovers his Aunt Sally from Montecarlo, Ga has passed away and has left him $150,000. But in order to get his hands on the money there is one stipulation, he has to direct the church choir and get it into the annual Gospel Explosion contest. But that is easier said than done as church treasurer, Paulina (LaTanya Richardson), who was instrumental in his mother leaving town with him when he was a child is against Darrin leading the choir. That along with a lack of talent in the choir are just a couple of his problems but then there is Lilly (Beyonce Knowles), his best friend when he was a child who is now a singer and who he takes a shine to, except his whole life is built on lies.

Have you ever sat in a cinema watching a movie and found you were in the minority when it comes to what you find funny. This has happened to me twice and I reckon if I had seen "The Fighting Temptations" on the big screen it would have happened a third time. I don't really like to use the term but the reason being is that this is a "black" comedy which features the sort of attitude based humour which often sounds ridiculous when anyone else tries to do it. Don't get me wrong as it isn't that there aren't jokes but they just didn't make me laugh like they make others laugh with fewer making me laugh and most just making me smile.

Beyonce Knowles in The Fighting Temptations (2003)

The thing about "The Fighting Temptations" is that it relies heavily on the humour and uses the storyline mostly as a vehicle for a lot of gags and characters being larger that larger than life. And that surprisingly leads to it not only going beyond the typical 90 minutes and passing the 2 hour mark but less surprisingly feeling stretched out. As I have said many a time, if a comedy hits the 2 hour mark it needs to be exceptional to last that long and "The Fighting Temptations" doesn't have what it needs to last that long.

But whilst "The Fighting Temptations" didn't work for me like it has others what I will say is that it gets one thing right. That is simply that whilst Beyonce Knowles is one of the movie's stars the movie is not all about her. And that is a pleasant surprise as far too often when a singer is trying to make it in movies their persona over powers the movie. As for Cuba Gooding Jr., well he delivers the same sort of humour he put in a year earlier in "Snow Dogs" which whilst okay for a while soon grows dull.

What this all boils down to is that "The Fighting Temptations" didn't do a great deal for me but it is a comedy with a certain style of humour which will appeal to some audiences more than others. But the biggest issue for me is that it doesn't have enough to sustain its 2 hour running time.