The movie's musical numbers are catchy and rollicking and, in their bright sunshiny way, rather soulful.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
A lower echelon of musical comedy hell (or heaven, if you love the hoariest musical comedy cliches).
Stephen Holden - New York Times
If it weren't for those musical numbers, Joyful Noise would be a slog. More singing and less talking would have made it better still.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Despite some mawkish dialogue, there's something to be said for leaving the theater with a smile. Can I get an amen?
Stephanie Merry - Washington Post
A pew-pounding musical drama starring Queen Latifah, Keke Palmer, and the skeletal remains of Dolly Parton.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
A holy hot mess of the sacred and the inane.
Melissa Anderson - Village Voice
Queen Latifah radiates such effortless charisma that she can elevate the lousiest film. Unfortunately, that effort seems to have become her norm.
Elizabeth Weitzman - New York Daily News
Suspense plays second fiddle to the music, which is a good thing, since the music is pretty great, though also to the two leading ladies' store of folk wisdom.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Joyful Noise works best when the screen is filled with music, or when stars Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah are slinging spirited one-liners at each other.
Mario Tarradell - Dallas Morning News
Much worse things could happen to a movie than to have these two full-figured gals hold forth. Parton's willing and able to despense the Southernisms. Latifah's fierce when she needs to be.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
[It] bears almost all the liabilities one gets from current studio product, including bloating.
Glenn Kenny - MSN Movies
The strange thing is that it makes no particular effort to please its target audience, which would seem to be lovers of gospel choirs.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
The movie's all right, if you can take its rampant artificiality - and I'm not even talking about Parton's face yet.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
It's hard to enjoy the movie's charms when writer-director Todd Graff keeps trying to shove them down your throat.
Ben Sachs - Chicago Reader
Though one wishes Graff's eye were as developed as his keen ear, he elicits rafter-raising musical performances from Latifah, Palmer, and Jordan that are irresistible fun.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
"Joyful Noise" is a sort of Wal-Mart movie, not exactly trendsetting but a decent enough offering for the heartland.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
It wants to be a charming, down-home good time, but it struggles to hit the right notes.
Adam Graham - Detroit News
The cornpone wisdom overflows from the screen during "Joyful Noise," like maple syrup on your grandmama's flapjacks.
Randy Cordova - Arizona Republic
Don't expect high art, and you will leave Joyful Noise smiling to the beat.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
Despite the sheer volume of music on offer, very little of it feels authentic -- or especially inspiring.
Peter Debruge - Variety
Latifah, a formidable actress who's almost always better than her movies, easily dominates this...
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
Joyful Noise subscribes to the Tyler Perry school of filmmaking - broad laughs beget life lessons and wisdom about the power of family and the joys of doing the right thing.
Linda Barnard - Toronto Star
Has the good fortune of being acted with enthusiasm by a very appealing cast, or else it would be completely unbearable instead of just mundane.
Eric D. Snider - Film.com
An unholy mess.
Jennie Punter - Globe and Mail
Everyone on view is so fundamentally decent and goody-goody that no real tension or unresolvable conflicts ever surface.
Todd McCarthy - Hollywood Reporter
If some incarnation of "Glee" were to be developed for the Christian Broadcasting Network, it would probably look a lot like "Joyful Noise."
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
The critic in me can authoritatively declare that the film is crap. The fan in me sent his shirt to the dry cleaners for tear removal.
Richard Corliss - TIME Magazine
Lots of talented young singers decorate the scenery, notably Jeremy Jordan who has vocal and acting chops that shine even in this bucket of Glee Goes Gospel cornpone.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
This movie is a cloying, over-the-top, cheesy sing-a-long that makes "Glee" seem subtle.
Richard Roeper - Richard Roeper.com
I did, however, enjoy when Kris Kristofferson comes back from the dead to sing a duet with Dolly.
Sean Burns - Philadelphia Weekly
Noise it is, joyful it is not.
David Keyes - Cinemaphile.org
In what ends up as a nightmarish fusion of Glee and Sister Act 2, a mixed-race church choir makes a bid for glory by painfully "Christianising" scraps of once perfectly acceptable pop songs.
Andy Lea - Daily Star
If you've the slightest aversion to camp, you should obviously steer clear. But then this film was never for you. It's for the spiritual year-round inhabitants of Dollywood.
Catherine Bray - Film4
If you've the slightest aversion to camp, you should obviously steer a million miles clear. But then this film was never for you.
Disarmingly heart-warming in its musical prowess and lazy in its storytelling development, hoping that the former - plus the big names - will attract a large enough crowd to keep it buoyant at the box office.
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
Even numbers by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson take on a religious note. Not much of a God-given screenplay, however.
- This is London
Corny and contrived, this provides both leading ladies with sweet ballads and tart one-liners and at least they resisted the temptation to set it all at Christmas.
Allan Hunter - Daily Express
Larger than life and twice as loud, Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton trade snappy one-liners and spirited musical numbers in Joyful Noise, an enjoyably corny musical comedy about a gospel choir seeking to uplift a depressed Southern town.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
In the end, it's impossible to resist the film's exuberant high spirits.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
Todd Graff's film sags badly in the middle and is clunky with social context (recession, Asperger's), but there's enough good heart to see you through.
Actor-turned-director Todd Graff actually knows what he's doing.
Tim Robey - Daily Telegraph
As manufactured, saccharine and unsubtle as Parton, but who's to mess with a winning formula?
Bethany Rutter - Little White Lies
[A] mostly sweet-natured rehash of 'Sister Act 2' by way of 'Glee'...
Guy Lodge - Time Out
It's let down by a meandering, unfocussed script, some poor direction and a handful of missed opportunities.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Only when the script takes a back seat to song does the the film live up to its title.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
Overlong and mind-numbingly generic, Joyful Noise promises home-cooked charm but leaves a taste worse than day-old grits.
Shaun Munro - What Culture
Hard as it tries to be harmless feel-good fodder, its notion that one character's Asperger's can be cured by a hearty sing-song makes it a more offensive musical than Team America ever dared.
Owen Nicholls - Total Film
If only writer-director Graff had injected the film with half as much earthy energy as he puts into the terrific musical numbers. And let the cast out of the box.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
Brent Simon - Shared Darkness
A movie about a gospel music competition should be fun and inspiring; Joyful Noise is lumbering and dull.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
...painfully cliched, its humor almost nonexistent, its sentimental 'ahhh' moments forced. Its music is the only thing to keep it afloat, and I didn't find it enough.
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
A join-the-dots parade of feel-good cliches. And not in a good way.
William Thomas - Empire Magazine
A big wet holiday smooch from an overbearing aunt...you grimace. You stand there and take it. And you grin afterwards.
If there has been a musical-based movie that contains a sweeter collection of song numbers to go with a more inane script one doesn't come to mind.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Todd said, let there be uplift, and there was such uplift the plot drifted into space. And so it was that, out of a void of tension, there came eye-splitting gospel-muzak.
Brian Gibson - Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Stretches credulity at just about every turn, but its biggest whopper stems from its basic premise: That a choir with the twin divas of Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah would ever be the underdog in any vocal contest!
Neil Pond - American Profile
How do you win a national gospel competition? 'Give me some of that Sly Stone funk!' shouts Latifah. Also performed: Paul McCartney's 'Maybe I'm Amazed,' repurposed as a Jesus anthem.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
What the hell has happened to Dolly Parton? Her face and body has been so distorted by plastic surgery that it becomes a distraction.
Daniel M. Kimmel - New England Movies Weekly
Boasts a handful of toe-tapping gospel medleys and production numbers, but loses steam considerably when the music stops.
Todd Jorgenson - Cinemalogue.com
... manages to make both Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah boring ...
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
If you like choir music, you'll love this movie. If you are iffy about the type of music you will find yourself checking your watch as the film does become sluggish towards the end.
Jolene Mendez - Entertainment Spectrum
Apart from being easily 15 minutes too long, the movie is harmless enough.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Imagine a mediocre episode of 'Glee' as envisioned by Billy Graham, and you're halfway to Joyful Noise.
Brandon Judell - CultureCatch
Glee-haw. When everybody isn't busy gossiping, brawling and having premarital sex, there is much lip service given to obeying God and lifting His name.
Corey Hall - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
It's a complete nothing movie. Latifah's presence and Latifah's voice (and Parton's) make it easy to wish that it was something.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Sort of a homespun 'Glee' for audiences with walks of faith, 'Joyful Noise' is truly that, featuring a soundtrack that's infectious. And believe it or not, this gospel-tinged musical covers almost all genres, from Paul McCartney to Kirk Franklin.
Linda Cook - KWQC-TV (Iowa)
The films strongest scenes take place when everyone gathers and lifts their voices. The songs here are powerful. Gospel fans will enjoy hearing not only Latifah and Parton but Gospel legends Kirk Franklin and Karen Peck.
Michael A. Smith - MediaMikes
A modern parable that's fun for the whole family with an uplifting message about the power of cooperation. Can I get an Amen?
Kam Williams - AALBC.com
The rousing arrangements performed by both industry icons and fresh faces are the only saving graces in what's otherwise a mess of slight plot and lazy dialogue.
Annlee Ellingson - Paste Magazine
You'll find yourself rolling your eyes, but you'll have more fun if you try to roll them in time with the rollicking numbers.
It's a busy, somewhat overstuffed and frequently predictable script but it incorporates a number of serious, affecting moments as well as some enjoyably quirky humor.
Fr. Chris Carpenter - Movie Dearest
a holy hot mess of digressions that tries to be all things to all people. A dash of social consciousness, a whiff of social commentary, and a heaping helping of cornpone family problems rendered with a broad brush and little insight
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
Familiar hallelujah gospels glued together by caricaturist Southernfried performances and an overwrought, formulaic story.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
If you should find yourself trapped at this diva show and are willing to give in to its heightened stupidity, you'll get your money's worth in a perverse sort of way.
Robert Levin - Film School Rejects
Although this film contains terrific music, after the first 45 minutes, I found myself fighting to stay awake. Unfortunately, it was a fight I won.
Tony Medley - Tolucan Times
'My face hasn't moved since the concrete set in 1978,' Dolly explained. 'If my face were gold you could find King Tut entombed in it.'
Mark Ramsey - MovieJuice!
It takes the combined personalities of Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton to wring entertainment value out of Joyful Noise, which they do to some degree, but it's the lively choral music performances that partially salvage this kettle of corn.
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
A movie that lacks the jazz hand energy of Glee, but packs good-natured laughs to keep someone awake for its two hour duration. More "noise" than "joyful."
Matt Patches - Hollywood.com
The trailer made it look like fun. The commercial looked promising. When will I ever learn?
Clint O'Connor - Cleveland Plain Dealer
The real problem with Joyful Noise is that it straddles the fence between musical parody and exploitative dramedy. Had Graff and his team just completely given into the comic goofiness of it all, the movie would have been something special.
Jonathan W. Hickman - Daily Film Fix
An overstuffed plot about winning a national church choir competition is nothing more than Gospel Glee. Yet assembles gifted, mostly youthful voices singing praises to God, and not in the old, rugged cross kind of way.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
Uplifting but cliched film has great songs, bland story.
S. Jhoanna Robledo - Common Sense Media
Those with less tolerance for the stridently manic stylings of Queen Latifah and miserable Disney Channel-style conflicts should stay clear and thank the heavens for the ticket money saved.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
It's a pastiche of calculated plot points and characters...
Jim Slotek - Jam! Movies
My, is there corn. But you'd have to be holding on very tightly to a bad mood to walk away from this meal with a frown.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
Whenever the characters open their mouths to sing, "Joyful Noise" rocks and swings with spirit to spare.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
After this movie is released the way we mark time will forever change. There will only be Before Joyful Noise and After Joyful Noise. No other calendar system will have meaning.
Dave White - Movies.com
Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah going head-to-head in a movie together should have been a contender for the Sassiest Movie of 2012, but the result was soulless.
Grae Drake - Movies.com
Nothing more than uninspired mushiness.
Kevin C. Johnson - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A crowd pleaser that really pleases.
Richard Knight - Knight at the Movies
The movie is genuine in its inauthenticity.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
Painfully awkward, melodramatic and contrived. Skip the movie and just buy its uplifting soundtrack.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
Graff smears an over-the-top theatricality on "Joyful Noise." It's so corny that it turns out to be, well, halfway silly fun.
Donald Munro - Fresno Bee
Nearly every line of dialogue is a country-fried metaphor or simile, and every other corner appears to have been cut from an overstuffed narrative.
William Goss - The Playlist
There's a saving grace: whenever [Todd] Graff sets aside the plot and allows the music to take over, his movie truly sings.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
Joyful Noise is too tone-deaf to put its few blessings to good use.
Connie Ogle - Miami Herald
The film feels about as genuine and spontaneous as its evident lip-synching.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
Featuring a mix of musical genres, "Joyful Noise" works best as a musical showcase for the formidable talents of Latifah and Parton. Without them, the film's lack of down-home soul would be even more glaring.
Mack Bates - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Its kicker is that despite the standard-issue sap of its garden-variety plot, it's not out to change your life or desperately steal your tears.
R. Kurt Osenlund - Slant Magazine
A movie with big, rousing soul-gospel songs that take your mind off how mediocre - or worse - the rest of the movie is.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
"Joyful Noise" is cheerful testament to the theory that if you cast your movie right, nothing else much matters.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
It's a film about triumph, but only for people who can accept every joyous or fierce moment as triumphant, regardless of how poorly it follows from the moment before it.
Tasha Robinson - AV Club
Good family fun
Diana Saenger - ReviewExpress.com
When the music is flowing and the actors are doing their stuff, "Joyful Noise" accurately lives up to its title.
The fairly predictable story about a choir that dreams of winning the National Joyful Noise Competition impresses with song and dance numbers that soar.
Peter Paras - E! Online
"Joyful Noise" follows the book for sprightly musicals and small-town quirk.
Amy Biancolli - San Francisco Chronicle
A well-meaning production that consistently fails to deliver on even the most basic of cinematic expectations, all while covering up stunning ineptitude with bloated song-and-dance numbers.
Kate Erbland - Boxoffice Magazine
When it finally culminates after two hours with a prefabricated stem-winding finale, you may feel like shouting 'Hallelujah!'--but not for the reasons Graff intended.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Pure cinematic sunshine.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
an overly earnest, melodramatic musical mishmash
Bill Gibron - Filmcritic.com
A well-intentioned, pleasant-enough picture that shoots off in too many directions to ever ignite.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
On paper, the idea of a movie that appeals to fans of both Glee and Tyler Perry seems like a shrewd one, but Joyful Noise will unlikely satisfy either camp.
It's not great filmmaking, but it's good-hearted and exactly the movie the commercials promise.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
For all of its commercial cliches, this joyously populated new gospel musical lives up to its title: It's rousing fun and, in the person of Jeremy Jordan, a true star is born.
David Noh - Film Journal International
Joyful Noise is an honest delight, as corny and occasionally as preachy as a tent revival, but as open-hearted and dynamic as well.
Katey Rich - CinemaBlend.com
More stupid movies should leave you with such a blissfully stupid smile.
Keith Uhlich - Time Out
As in a Tyler Perry movie, the obvious issues of race get buried under a litany of life-affirming platitudes.
Tom Meek - Boston Phoenix
Don't let all that corn-shucking gosh-darn-it stuff fool you: this is one canny movie.
Joanna Langfield - The Movie Minute
Talented comediennes Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton (in a comeback role) are underused in this fakely energetic, increasingly silly film that ultimately boils down to catfights between them.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Predictably hokum but embracing performers who are having a grand time.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
An unwieldy, frequently baffling piece of claptrap that careens wildly to and fro in its efforts to serve many different narrative masters.
Brent Simon - Screen International