Good news, everyone. There's yet another music biopic coming out this year, which means that unfortunately Walk Hard, sharp super-secret success though it was, failed to kill the broad strokes, wig-happy, can-o-cheese, glorified TV-movie of a genre that it so ably aped. This new movie is called Cadillac Records and it stars Beyoncé, a vacant stare, and a blonde wig as Etta James.
There was no shortage of soul on the set of Cadillac Records, out Dec. 5, when the Etta James-playing Beyoncé Knowles sang the ballad ''At Last.'' According to Darnell Martin, who directed this film about the Chess label, ''People said, 'I would have worked for free today.'''
Really? Who are these people? What are their names? Have they been to a wedding or seen a romantic comedy in the past, say, fifteen years? Because I can't imagine anyone getting excited about hearing the song "At Last" again, no matter who's singing it. Etta James herself could float on to the soundstage, grab a mic, and start belting it out, and "At Last" would still be the most overplayed "romantic" song in recent history. It's the Target of love songs. Being moved by "At Last" at this point is akin to finding genuine amusement in a jokey bumper sticker. But if the people working on Cadillac Records are really willing to accept Beyoncé singing "At Last" instead of wages, Darnell Martin should save millions and have her sing it everyday, since they'll clearly never get tired of it. Cadillac Records could be the most profitable music biopic of all time!
Still, Beyoncé playing Etta James should be an interesting footnote 30 years from now in the "acting career" montage that immediately precedes the downward spiral montage of the inevitable Beyoncé biopic called Beyoncé: Child Of Destiny, or simply Crazy In Love: The Beyoncé Knowles Story (starring Willow Smith, maybe?).