The first Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody evaluations are in, and they seem like fairly combined. From Harriet director Kasi Lemmons and Bohemian Rhapsody screenwriter Anthony McCarten, the brand new musical biopic chronicles the life and profession of Whitney Houston, taking its title from the American pop icon’s 1987 hit tune. The movie options Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker‘s Naomi Ackie as Whitney Houston, together with Stanley Tucci, Ashton Sanders, Tamara Tunie, Nafessa Williams, and Clarke Peters in supporting roles.

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With I Wanna Dance with Somebody‘s release proper across the nook, critics are starting to publish their evaluations. At the time of writing, the movie is sitting within the low 40% vary on Rotten Tomatoes, which is bound to fluctuate. What’s clear is that I Wanna Dance with Somebody‘s evaluations are decidedly combined, with many praising Whitney Houston’s music and Ackie’s performance, whereas additionally criticizing nearly the whole lot else, such because the narrative and its general cliché method. See what the critics are saying beneath:

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

You’ll in all probability get pleasure from it. And even in case you don’t love the whole lot, you will in all probability get pleasure from arguing with it.

Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine

There are solely clichés on this rise-and-fall materials, with the only real distinctive wrinkle being the burden given to the rise versus the autumn.

Ok. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone

Ackie helps promote Houston as a singular expertise even when it’s not her singing these legendary songs at Mt. Everest-level runs of mezzo-soprano notes.

Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

I Wanna Dance with Somebody in the end devolves right into a boilerplate biopic, a sequence of more and more unlucky occasions offered with little narrative form or texture.

Thomas Floyd, Washington Post

Watching the pop songstress’s life story is like listening to a biggest hits album, with simply as little narrative coherence.

Matthew Huff, AV Club

Whitney Houston’s songs are as catchy as ever, however Kasi Lemmons’ movie succumbs to acquainted music biopic pitfalls with out including a lot to the singer’s legacy.

Kevin Maher, Times (UK)

It’s gobsmackingly terrible, and has no curiosity in any way in tackling the fascinating contradictions on the coronary heart of Houston’s success, particularly her standing as (from McCarten’s script) “the first black all-American white-friendly girl”.

Kelechi Ehenulo, Empire Magazine

In what might have been a definitive tribute to Whitney Houston’s profession, surface-level execution means her story isn’t fairly carried out justice. But Naomi Ackie’s efficiency shines above the whole lot else.

Charlotte O’Sullivan, London Evening Standard

If Austin Butler’s Elvis is the king of that crop, [Naomi Ackie’s] Whitney is indisputably the queen.

David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

Critics will sniff, as they invariably do, concerning the acquainted conventions of the music biopic. But the spirit of I Wanna Dance With Somebody transcends these conventions much more usually than it will get weighed down by them.

Brian Truitt, USA Today

Anthony McCarten wrote this in addition to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a finest image nominee that was something however, and Houston’s story in the end takes the identical tack as his Queen biopic: a Wikipedia entry come to middling life on display screen.

David Ehrlich, indieWire

The movie’s cram-it-all-in method makes it unimaginable for “Eve’s Bayou” director Lemmons to say her regular management, or to anchor even essentially the most tragic moments of Houston’s life with the gravity they deserve.

Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

A easily watchable and effectively carried out piece of labor.

Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“I Wanna Dance with Somebody” is the sort of lavishly impassioned all-stops-out biopic you both give into otherwise you don’t — and in case you do, you could end up getting so emotional, child.

Related: Elvis’ Tom Hanks Choice Avoids A Hated Music Biopic Mistake


How I Wanna Dance With Somebody Reviews Compare To Recent Musical Biopics

Judging by its rotten score on the Tomatometer, it would not be unfair to say that I Wanna Dance with Somebody might fail to dwell as much as the current pattern of critically-acclaimed musical biopics. This even extends to screenwriter McCarten’s earlier musical biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, which regardless of additionally receiving considerably combined evaluations, was honored with 5 Academy Award nominations, together with Best Picture. The screenwriter has additionally penned biopics of Stephen Hawking (The Theory of Everything) and Winston Churchill (Darkest Hour), which had been additionally nominated for Best Picture, so it is secure to say that I Wanna Dance with Somebody will not make the lower of McCarten’s biggest hits.

Other than Bohemian Rhapsody, the current inflow of well-received musical biopics consists of 2019’s Rocketman and Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis movie, which had been each praised for correctly honoring their respective musical icons. The Roku Channel’s Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, which was removed from a severe musical biopic, nonetheless obtained largely constructive evaluations for capturing the spirit of its topic. This, nonetheless, is the place I Wanna Dance with Somebody appears to succeed, whereas the whole lot from the story to its surface-level execution is the place it falls quick.

Like Elvis Presley, Whitney Houston carries some appreciable title recognition which, regardless of the middling evaluations, might persuade audiences to come back out to theaters and make I Wanna Dance with Somebody an honest field workplace hit over the vacation season. Whitney Houston followers certainly should not be discouraged by the damaging evaluations since capturing the enduring singer’s stage presence appears to be the place the biopic thrives. With I Wanna Dance With Somebody releasing in theaters on December 23, audiences will quickly have the ability to see the movie and make up their minds for themselves.

More: Did Austin Butler Sing The Songs In Elvis? (It’s Complicated)

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