starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Beyoncé Knowles, Chloe Bailey, Demetress Long
screenplay by Elizabeth Hunter and Saladin K. Patterson
directed by Jonathan Lynn
by Walter Chaw It's fair to wonder at some point what it is, exactly, about Cuba Gooding Jr. that appeals the most. Is it the broad mugging? The amazingly insulting material? Or is it the kind of manic energy that proves so enervating to most people too old to be entertained by insulting, mugging clowns? And while The Fighting Temptations isn't quite as bad as Snow Dogs, Boat Trip, or Men of Honor, it's somehow less of a movie than either--a collection of flimsy narrative excuses for musical numbers that manages to suggest that poor southern African-Americans are slavishly devoted to the word of New York advertising executives while confirming that there are some characters so revolting as to indeed be above redemption. In its zeal to graft a few uplift dramas to its gospel-highlights showcase, The Fighting Temptations finds in its protagonist an appalling yaw of moral cess and, worse, a lack entire of much of anything resembling a recognizable humanity. Gooding Jr. is typecast in the part, in other words, and things don't appear to be looking up with the dreaded upcoming disability opera Radio.