Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody: Movie Review

Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody Movie Review: Too Musically Inclined

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For die-hard Whitney Houston fans, we have no doubt that "Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody" is a must-watch film. From start to finish, this is an experience that worships the timeless music and the legendary voice of Whitney Houston - and the various performances that entailed these hits. But here's the catch, it was literally a greatest hits album in disguise trying to come off as the complete experience. Sadly. this was too musically inclined for our tastes and we clamored for a properly written and paced narrative more than the voice.   

Witness the emotional roller coaster life of the greatest voice of her generation, Whitney Houston (Naomi Ackie). From her humble beginnings as a choir member and backup singer to her mom Cissy Houston (Tamara Tunie) to her chance encounter with music producer Clive Davis (Stanley Tucci) and to her transformation to a musical superstar and vocal legend. 

It was a little bit off-putting to really see and feel first-hand how soulless and lifeless of an experience "Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody". The voice and the performances were powerful but they didn't really have any dramatic heft and weight as the film simply lacked an engaging narrative and characters to support these performances. Don't get us wrong though. We're very aware how these musical biopics have been written and we're not expecting 100% accuracy when it comes to these portrayals. But unlike most biopics that utilize these flourishes to have a more relatable and dramatic story, this film's narrative and character development was just weirdly portrayed in our opinion. In fact, we found ourselves confused and confounded a lot of times as seemingly important characters in Whitney's life like her mom just disappeared in huge segments of the story. Characters pop in and pop out out of convenience without any pacing or proper development along the way. We wouldn't be surprised if the narrative was developed in reverse. It really felt like they crafted this biopic by picking the order of the hit songs first then haphazardly wrote a story to tie-up the loose ends. The tremendous effort of Naomi Ackie though was something to behold. While she didn't really sing these songs for real, she was able to capture the movements and expressions of Whitney Houston to a tee. She actually salvages the film because even with its faults, Whitney Houston fans will still find something entertaining, memorable, and powerful in these set-piece performances.  

Rating: 3 reels

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