- The Fighting Temptations
The Fighting Temptations
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jonathan Lynn Produced by David Gale
Loretha C. Jones
Written by Elizabeth Hunter
Saladin K. Patterson
Narrated by Steve Harvey Starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Music by Jimmy Jam
James "Big Jim" Wright
Cinematography Affonso Beato Editing by Paul Hirsch Studio MTV Films Distributed by Paramount Pictures Release date(s) September 19, 2003 Running time 123 minutes Country United States Language English Budget $30 million Box office $32,750,821
The Fighting Temptations is a 2003 American musical dramedy film produced by Paramount Pictures and MTV Films. It stars Cuba Gooding, Jr. as the film's protagonist as he attempts to revive a church choir in order to enter a gospel competition with the help of a beautiful lounge singer (Beyoncé Knowles) with whom he soon falls in love.
The film is notable for its soundtrack and all star cast.
The film opens in 1980, where a young boy named Darrin Hill and his mother MaryAnn (Faith Evans) are run out of town after MaryAnn was discovered to be singing secular music when she sings in a church choir also. Their aunt Sally (Ann Nesby) tries to defend MaryAnn but it fails. The church's pastor Reverend Lewis (Wendell Pierce) is too afraid of the other church members to let her stay. MaryAnn and Darrin are last seen saying goodbye to Aunt Sally, as they sadly wave goodbye to each other.
Years later in the present day (then 2003), Darrin (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) has grown up to become a successful advertising executive in New York with a bad habit of lying. His best friend and secretary Rosa Lopez (Lourdes Benedicto) does a good job at keeping his credit problems under control. However, Darrin has achieved so much under false pretenses. He faked his college degree and high school diploma. He also lied about being the son of a congressman. His lies soon catch up with him and get him in trouble with his paranoid boss (Dakin Matthews) and he loses his job. After being tracked down by a private investigator, he finds out that his Aunt Sally has died.
A day later he travels back to his hometown in Monte Carlo, Georgia and looks back on both comical and heartbreaking memories of his late mother and the experiences they had together. When he arrives he finds a new friendship in Lucious (Mike Epps), the town's happy-go-lucky cab driver. Lucious is obsessed with women's booties and even proclaims himself a "Booty expert" and "Bootyologist".
After the funeral, Darrin learns from Reverend Lewis that Aunt Sally stated in her will that he must direct the church choir and enter the annual "Gospel Explosion" competition and win the prize money of $10,000 and Sally's stock in the company that produces the show which is worth $150,000 dollars. The main problem he must deal with is the wicked church treasurer Paulina (Latanya Richardson) who is also the reverend's sister and the same woman who bullied MaryAnn into leaving Monte Carlo. Paulina despises Darrin because of his late mother and she also thinks he stole her "dream job" as choir director, as she has waited years for Sally to pass away. Later that night, he and Lucious go to a night club and there, Darrin reunites with his old childhood crush named Lilly (Beyoncé Knowles) who happens to the tavern's headliner. He first hears her sing at the club when she performs "Fever". He tries to flirt with her but she coldly rejects him by saying she has a jealous "boyfriend" named Dean. After many failed auditions, he finally finds good singers but the only problem is that most of them want to get paid. He cons them into the choir by saying that he'll pay them half of the prize money. In actuality, he has no intentions of paying anybody. After a stressful effort, he finally convinces Lilly to join the choir, and he also bonds with Dean thereafter, who is actually her 9 year old son she had out of wedlock.
Later on, Darrin forgot to enter the choir into the auditions. Luckily for them, the audition judge who is also the town's prison warden, Luther Washington (Faizon Love) lets them perform for his prisoners and if they did well they were in the show. Thanks to Lilly's beautiful looks and voice, they perform well and Washington lets them in. Washington also lets Darrin use three convicts who can sing well. The three convicts are Bee-Z Briggs (T-Bone), Lightfoot (Chris Cole) and Mr. Johnson (Montell Jordan). The latter of whom, has a high-pitched voice and is very sensitive about it and is willing to kill people who find it amusing.
After weeks of success, the choir has become more popular, more people have joined the church and the choir. Darrin also begins dating Lilly Unfortunately, Paulina receives a phone call from Rosa and learns of his past troubles and intends on exposing him the first chance she gets.
The next afternoon at a church barbecue, Paulina deliberately reveals Darrin's secrets with a polite demeanor, in order to make herself look innocent. Lilly is both furious and heartbroken about this and the people who he promised money to begin to panic. Lilly tells him that she doesn't care what he does and she was only using him because he was using her. Since Lilly wants nothing to do with him now, he decides to quit and go back to New York where he has been offered his job back. He goes back and gets a new condo and a promotion. He comes to realize that none of these things mean anything without Lilly and the choir.
He quits his job and returns to Monte Carlo and reconciles with Lilly and Lucious. The three of them recruit the Reverend and they go down to the Gospel Explosion to stop Paulina. When they arrive, they manage to convince the others to vote her out of the choir. Before their performance begins, Darrin tells Lilly that she inspired him to name the choir The Fighting Temptations.
After an outstanding performance, the choir wins the competition but before Darrin ends his acceptance speech, he asks Lilly to marry him and she accepts. Eighteen months later, they are married with a baby. Paulina is welcomed back into the choir after having dropped her hypocritical ways.
As the film ends (in a pre-credits scene), Lucious asks Darrin and Lilly's baby "You know I'm your daddy, right?" but Lilly's grandfather hears this and gives Lucious a mean stare. Lucious immediately backs away from the baby and says he was just joking.
- Cuba Gooding Jr. as Darrin Hill
- Beyoncé Knowles as Lilly
- Mike Epps as Lucious
- Latanya Richardson as Paulina Lewis-Pritchett
- Wendell Pierce as Reverend Paul Lewis
- Ann Nesby as Aunt Sally
- Lourdes Benedicto as Rosa Lopez
- Dakin Matthews as Mr. Fairchild
- T-Bone as Briggs (Convict #1)
- Montell Jordan as Mr. Johnson (Convict #2)
- Lou Myers as Homer
- Angie Stone as Alma
- Melba Moore as Bessie
- Mitchah Williams as Jimmy B.
- Mickey Jones as Scooter
- Dave Sheridan as Bill the mechanic
- Rue McClanahan as Nancy
- Lil Zane as Derek
- Mae Middleton as Tasha
- Eddie Levert as Joseph
- Walter Williams as Frank
- Eric Nolan Grant as Samuel
- Darrell Vanterpool as Dean
- Faizon Love as Luther Washington (Prison Warden)
- Faith Evans as MaryAnn Hill
- Steve Harvey as Miles Smoke
- James E. Gaines as Lilly's grandfather
- Chris Cole as Lightfoot (Convict #3)
- Shirley Caesar as Herself
- The Blind Boys of Alabama as Themselves
- Mary Mary as Themselves
- Ramiyah as Themselves
- Donnie McClurkin as Judge of Gospel Explosion (Himself)
- Yolanda Adams as Judge of Gospel Explosion (Herself)
- Daphne Duplaix as Tiffany, Darrin's girlfriend
The film crew used several locations throughout Georgia. The final scene was filmed in Columbus, GA at the River Center for Performing Arts. Several of the extras were local residents of Columbus, GA.
The music of the film received critical acclaim, most notably, Beyoncé's cover of "Fever".
However, the film itself received generally mixed to negative reviews upon its release. The film was criticized for its weak and unoriginal plot and the poor chemistry between the film's lead actors (Cuba Gooding Jr. and Beyoncé Knowles) as well as their noticeable age difference.
In addition, some audiences were dissatisfied with the significance Steve Harvey's role in the film. In the film's advertising, Harvey was depicted to have had a major role in the film but his role is actually minor with little screentime.
The movie was a moderate success, with a worldwide gross of US$32,445,215.
However, the cast themselves were very pleased with the film, citing its uplifting story and soundtrack. Gooding has confessed in several interviews following the film's release that he enjoyed filming his kissing scenes with Knowles. In a 2011 interview on The Late Late Show, Gooding made a humorous reference to this by saying: (In the false words of the host) "Didn't he make love with Beyoncé on the set of something?".
A soundtrack accompanied the film which was released a short while before the film was. The soundtrack received generally positive reviews and was more successful that the film itself. Only one song from the album, "Summertime", is not included in the movie. Also, late R&B legend Luther Vandross also recorded a song for the film called "Shine" but it failed to make the final cut of the film as well as the soundtrack. The most obvious reference to this is the fact that Vandross frequently says the title of the film in the song. The song "Come Back Home" appears in the film, but was not included in the soundtrack album.
- "Fighting Temptation" — Beyoncé (feat. Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, and Free)
- "I Know" — Destiny's Child
- "Rain Down" — Eddie Levert and Angie Stone
- "To da River" — T-Bone, Lil Zane, and Montell Jordan
- "I'm Getting Ready" — Ann Nesby
- "The Stone" — Shirley Caesar and Ann Nesby
- "Heaven Knows" — Faith Evans
- "Fever" — Beyoncé
- "Everything I Do" — Beyoncé and Bilal
- "Loves Me Like a Rock" — The O'Jays
- "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" — Beyoncé
- "He Still Loves Me" — Walter Williams Sr. and Beyoncé
- "Time to Come Home" — Beyoncé, Melba Moore, and Angie Stone
- "Don't Fight the Feeling" — Solange and Papa Reu
- "Summertime" — Beyoncé (feat. P. Diddy) (Note: This is the only song that does not appear in the film)
- "Shine" — Luther Vandross (Note: This song was written and recorded for the film but failed to make the final cut)
The film was released on VHS and DVD on February 3, 2004.
In 2008, the film was re-released on DVD with new cover and disc art.
In a 2003 interview with Mickey Jones, (who had a supporting role in the film), for HollywoodJesus.com, he stated that he hoped the film performed well because all of the principal actors had signed on for a sequel. But as of 2011, nothing has been announced about a sequel. More than likely, a sequel will not be made due to the film barely making its budget during its theatrical run and the mixed reviews the film received.
The film made its debut on television on Showtime in 2005 almost two years after the film's release. The film has aired on BET, VH1 and it frequently airs on TBS commonly during early morning hours or late night hours.
Awards and nominations
Ceremony Recipient Category Result BET Comedy Awards Beyoncé Knowles Outstanding Actress in a Box-Office Movie Nominated Mike Epps Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Box-Office Movie Nominated Black Reel Awards Cuba Gooding Jr. Best Actor Nominated Beyoncé Knowles Best Actress Nominated Elizabeth Hunter
Saladin K. Patterson
Best Screenplay Original or Adapted Nominated Best Film Nominated Best Film Soundtrack Won "He Still Loves Me" Best Film Song Won Golden Raspberry Awards Cuba Gooding Jr. Worst Actor Nominated Image Awards Outstanding Motion Picture Won Beyoncé Knowles Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
- "Fighting Temptation" (Beyoncé Knowles song)
- Official website
- The Fighting Temptations at the Internet Movie Database
- The Fighting Temptations at AllRovi
- The Fighting Temptations at Box Office Mojo
- The Fighting Temptations at Rotten Tomatoes
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