Starring Gwyneth Paltrow and directed by her father, Bruce Paltrow (A LITTLE SEX), DUETS dives headfirst into the bizarre musical world of karaoke. Six amateur singers gather for the Grand Prize Karaoke Contest in Omaha, Nebraska, each performing for their own personal reasons and displaying his or her own unique and special talents. Among the motley crew are a karaoke hustler (Huey Lewis) and his estranged showgirl daughter (Paltrow), a miserable white-collar executive (Paul Giamatti from SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and PRIVATE PARTS), and a sweet-voiced ex-con (Andrew Braugher)--all who stand a chan... ce at the $5,000 prize. Paltrow showcases her surprisingly strong singing voice in a duet with Huey Lewis, as well as in a smashing rendition of Paula Abdul's "Forever Your Girl."
What a film. This could have been amply entertaining just by revelling in the karaoke 'scene' and the heartwarming and witty musical interludes. But instead it is much better than it needs to be, with subtle but non-trivial insights into individuality, race, rules and relationships. Paul Giamatti's character is the heart of the film, and his rebellion against conformity and the heartless homogenization of society is essential to the film's message: dare to sing with your own voice, whether it's beautiful or not. A unique gem.
Not what it seems!
OK it is exactly what it seems! It's a karaoke movie. There. BUT... it's a top notch karaoke movie! The songs are excellent, the script and story are both strong, overall it's thoroughly enjoyable! I've actually rented it twice now, even if just for the superb rendition of 'Freebird' which brings a tear to the eye. Watch it and be VERY surprised at how much you enjoy it.
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