Movie Review: “Sister Act”
Deloris (Whoopi Goldberg) is a talented singer, and she has been leading and performing in a show in Reno for some time. Her talent has been the focal point of the show, and her drive has been essential in the song choices and organization of the group. This gig has been good for her, and she has been seeing a very wealthy man in the area. Their relationship has been going okay, but she wants more from it.
That all changes when she discovers that the man she has been seeing is a mob boss, and she only discovers this when she witnesses him executing a man in cold blood. The police now want Delores to testify, but they will need to keep her safe for the month leading up to the trial. With all previous witnesses winding up dead, the police need to put Delores somewhere that no one would suspect. Thus, they put her in a church where she will have to live as a nun to hide her identity. Unfortunately, Delores will not be able to fit in very easily.
The Pros & Cons
Whoopi Goldberg (+4pts)
The Premise (-3pts)
Maggie Smith (+4pts)
The Comedy (+4pts)
Supporting Characters (-2pts)
Pro: Whoopi Goldberg (+4pts)
It has been a pretty long time since I have seen Whoopi Goldberg in a movie, and I somehow never saw this one when I was a kid, so I really was not expecting a whole lot out of Whoopi Goldberg in this movie. This was not because I thought she would be bad. I just had no expectations of her whatsoever. Nonetheless, I watched this movie and I thought Whoopi Goldberg was great in the lead role.
The movie had a silly premise, but Whoopi Goldberg sold it. She sold the plot, she delivered the comedy effectively, and she played the drama just as convincingly. I am not trying to suggest that this was a dramatically impressive movie. It was your typical comedy that had some dramatic moments sprinkled throughout, and Whoopi Goldberg played her role well.
Con: The Premise (-3pts)
There is not a whole lot of explanation necessary here, as I think you will get it. This is a comedy about a singer who witnesses a mob boss killing a guy, which leads to the police secretly organize for her to live as a nun to keep her safe. The character then does not fit in, and it is your typical silly comedy about a character being thrown into a new, ridiculous scenario. Everything about this premise was ridiculous. From the way it was set up, to her conflict with the nun in charge, and to the Delores' role in the church. The whole plot of this movie was hard to believe, and the filmmakers definitely leaned into that a bit, but I think this movie could have worked a lot better if the filmmakers either executed this premise in a more believable way or if they leaned hard into the ridiculous and comedic nature of this premise.
Pro: Maggie Smith (+4pts)
I only know Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall from the Harry Potter Franchise, but this movie came out first and she was as great in this movie. She played a traditional Mother Superior who is reluctant to take in Delores due to her large personality and lifestyle. Nonetheless, she is Mother Superior, and Delores needs help. Thus, she agrees to help the woman in need but does so reluctantly.
The two characters then go through a predictable clash of style, but Maggie Smith did a great job with the character. Mother Superior easily could have been a one-dimensional character, in a predictable storyline. Instead, Maggie Smith gave the character heart, and made the character far more interesting than she otherwise would have been. She made you empathize and care about the character. Mother Superior plays a pretty significant role in this story, and the story may not have worked with a less talented actress in the role. I do not think the character was written well, but Maggie Smith deserves a lot of credit for making the character work.
Con: Predictable (-5pts)
I know I already touched on this, but this movie was as predictable as they come. I had never seen the movie, but my wife and I saw it while scrolling through Disney+ and she remembered liking it, so we gave it a shot. As soon as Delores got to the church, I knew how the entire rest of the movie would go. I even said to my wife: ”let me guess, she joins the church, she hates it immediately, she clashes with Mother Superior, then she breathes new life into the church choir, wins everyone over, and decides she wants to stay at the church even after the trial.”
Now that was my guess at the beginning of the movie, and I will not get into which of those points were accurate and which were not, but I was spot on for most of it. It made for a somewhat boring plot, because it was so easy to see where the filmmakers were going with it. The only satisfying part of this plot was seeing the look on my wife’s face when I made my prediction so early in the movie. She cannot stand when I do that to movies that she likes or remembers liking as a kid, which really just makes me want to do it that much more!
Pro: The Comedy (+4pts)
Were there any real laugh-out-loud moments? No, if I am being totally honest. However the movie did keep me chuckling here and there, which kept me watching. The movie was trying to be to be a comedy while also being feel-good in nature, so it just seemed like the filmmakers were sitting on the fence and it felt like the feel-good story was holding the comedy back a little bit. This was fine, as the movie was still able to keep me at pretty entertained from a comedic perspective. It is far from the funniest movie you will have seen recently, but the comedy in this movie was entertaining for what it was.
Con: Supporting Characters (-2pts)
Whoopi Goldberg was great as Delores, and Maggie Smith was great as Mother Superior, but the entire rest of the cast was made up of typical, cartoonish, one-dimensional characters. Some of them had a few funny moments, but for the most part they were all bland, not very amusing, and uninteresting. It is also worth noting that there were a lot of side characters living as nuns in the church. By cutting out some of the ones that got little to no screentime, the filmmakers could have focused more on the few that they wanted to give screentime to. Was this a huge issue? No, but taking out the characters that the filmmakers clearly had no intention of using would have gone a long way in making the more involved side characters more entertaining and more interesting.
Grade: C+ (77pts)
I was not expecting much from this movie, because I had honestly never even heard about it until my wife and I saw it while flipping through Disney+. I really do not know why I had never heard of it, but we gave it a shot it and it was not bad. Whoopi Goldberg did a pretty good job in the lead role, doing a great job of balancing the feel-good drama with the comedy while carrying this plot on her back. Then there was Maggie Smith, who made her character a lot more than what she could have been.
The comedy was there and while there were no big laugh-out-loud moments, I do not think that is what the filmmakers were going for. They were going for a feel-good movie with some mild comedy, and that is what they delivered. The plot, however, left a lot to be desired. It was severely predictable, had a ridiculous premise that was set up in an equally ridiculous way, and the supporting characters were mostly bland. It was a fairly average, feel-good movie with some mild, light-hearted comedy sprinkled throughout the story.