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Joyful Noise | 2012 | PG-13 | - 4.3.4

A single mom and church choir director (Queen Latifah) argues incessantly with teen choir members (Keke Palmer, Dexter Darden and Jeremy Jason) and a veteran singer (Dolly Parton) about what to sing and how to sing it. Frustrations rise even more after losing several regional competitions and funding. But the choir members cooperate to find a way to enter the finals of the National Joyful Noise Competition. Also with Kirk Franklin, Kris Kristofferson, Courtney B. Vance and Jesse L. Martin. Directed by Todd Graff. [1:58]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - An man and a woman kiss rub each others' buttocks; we later see the woman in her kitchen as she takes breakfast to the man, who is now in her bed (sex is implied) and apparently dead; he is shirtless and we see his bare shoulders and chest briefly.
 A teen boy and a teen girl flirt throughout the film, smiling at each other, giggling, kissing a few times briefly and holding hands, and she tells him that her mother does not allow her to date, but jokes with him and walks away with an exaggerated hip wiggle to make him laugh; later, in his kitchen, they embrace and kiss briefly and his grandmother pulls them apart while telling them to stop. A man and a woman embrace twice.
 A woman tells her pastor that she will become known as "tap her and die," meaning that any man that has sex with her will die. A pastor at a funeral says the deceased loved life as his wife replies, "The man had 5 kids; he loved something." A teen boy tells a teen girl, "Let's make babies that look like you" and she laughs. A man speaks to a woman, saying, "You got big ole lungs on you," referring to her breasts and she looks surprised. An African-American mother tells her daughter to be careful of cake that stays in the stomach for nine months and becomes a cracker, meaning, "Don't have sex, get pregnant unmarried and have a white baby." A woman tells another woman that if God punished people for having unmarried sex, then most men would be dead by their senior year in high school. A woman tells a man, "You country people marry three times and still have the same in-laws." Two teen boys play piano and sing, "I'm in love with a stripper."
 A few women at a dance club wear backless dresses that reveal bare backs. Several women at parties and concerts wear low-cut blouses that reveal some cleavage. In a concert competition several women wear sleeveless dresses that are low-cut and reveal cleavage. A teen boy sits shirtless at a kitchen table while his grandmother puts peroxide on a scrape on his face.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - Two out of three teen boys at a quarry get into a fist fight and the third jumps in to help one of them; one boy is kicked and punched in the stomach four times and we see blood flow from his mouth and nose as he walks away. Two women argue in a restaurant, get into a food fight with a glass of water and food from several tables and wrestle while standing up; one woman puts the other in a headlock as a man takes photos of them and the fight is broken up.
 A woman takes breakfast to a man in bed and when he does not wake up she checks for a pulse and gasps when she finds none; we then see a brief graveside service with a coffin and tearful mourners. A choir director at a competition grabs his left arm twice and grimaces in pain and walks off stage; we later see a church funeral service with people wearing black and shedding tears.
 A woman enters her house, she sees a broken flowerpot on the floor, and she removes a rifle from a gun case, carries it at the ready through the house, cocks it, discovers her grandson in the kitchen and lowers the gun.
 Several loud arguments occur between a mother and her teen daughter and between her and her teen son. During an argument, a mother slaps her daughter in the face, shouts about single parenthood, they both curse, and the mother tells the girl to get to bed, which she does. A teen girl's boyfriend argues with the girl's mother. Several arguments occur between two women about what style should be used in their gospel music performances. A teen boy with Asperger's Syndrome talks very loudly and cries a few times when he is misunderstood by people; in one scene, he cries to his mother that God gave him this condition and if his mom loved him she'd hate God. A woman tells her pastor that she will become known as "tap her and die," meaning that any man that has sex with her will die and when various men meet her at different times they run away when they hear her name.
 During a children's gospel choir performance in a national competition, the lead singer briefly drops to his knees and prays in tongues while the other kids lay hands on his head.
 A nurse changes a bedpan for a patient and it spills off camera; she grimaces, picks it up, and we see that it is empty. We see medical equipment in the background of a hospital room scene.


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LANGUAGE 4 - 1 sexual reference, 9 scatological terms, 5 anatomical terms, 5 mild obscenities, exclamations (shut-up), name-calling (2-tailed bird, boy, corny, cracker, crazy, Edward Scissorhands, heifer, hoodlum, jerks, lazy, low class, son, psycho-mom, stubborn, ugly), stereotypical references to men, women, children, teens, whites, rich people, single parents, pop songs, Gospel choirs, church politics, black churches, small towns, people who are different, soldiers, 4 religious exclamations.


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SUBSTANCE USE - Teens at a dance club hold bottles and cans of drinks (we do not see them drinking and it is unclear what is in the containers).


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Competition, compromise, friendship, interracial relationships, teamwork, hope, standing by one's convictions, taking risks, marriage, death, different ways of worshiping, conflict and reconciliation.

MESSAGE - Small town people can be winners, too.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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