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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the songs on this soundtrack are nestled in the comfort zone for most families, though there are a few questionable words ("bulls--t," "ass," and "bitch") on the blistering song "It's All Over." Something about the presentation gives them theatrical gravitas, so they don't come off sounding like gratuitous language delivered only for shock value.
What's the story?
Loosely based on the story of the famous 1960s Motown girl group, the Supremes, DREAMGIRLS addresses real-life band politics, egos and alliances, and the complications of success. Much of the dramatic tension seems based on a real-life event -- when Diana Ross was elevated to the role of the lead singer by the president of Motown Records, while Mary Wilson and Flo Ballard were delegated to backup vocals. Fans of the movie will find a lot to love here, with 20 satisfying tracks that include just enough dialogue to evoke memories of specific scenes. For those kids dreaming of playing music with their best friends and hitting the big time, there's plenty of dramatic inspiration.
Is it any good?
The Dreamgirls movie soundtrack packs a satisfying wallop as a showcase for Beyonce Knowles and American Idol veteran Jennifer Hudson, not to mention Anika Noni Rose, Jamie Foxx, and the musically surprising Eddie Murphy. The singing is worth it, as is the chance to pull out old Motown albums and show the kids what a real bass line sounded like back in the day.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the dynamics of being in a group. What would it be like to start a singing group with your friends? If one person ended up being the lead singer, how would that make you feel? Parents and grandparents who were fans of the Supremes, the 1960s Motown group on which this story is loosely based, might want to haul out the old records to share with their kids.