Dreamgirls might feature Beyoncé and American Idol diva Jennifer Hudson, but the rehabilitation of Eddie Murphy's music career is the real story. Infamous for such novelties as "Boogie in Your Butt," as well as a slew of painful stabs at serious R&B, Murphy plays the role of troubled soul singer James "Thunder" Early in this adaptation of the early '80s musical. And the comedian sounds just electric on the manic "Fake Your Way to the Top."
Of course, that's not to slight the rest of the collection. Most of the recreations of vintage Motown soul (the film, like the musical, is loosely based on the Supremes' career) are almost a quarter-century old themselves, yet such material as Hudson's showstopping "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" possesses a vitality sadly foreign to most modern R&B. But if this soundtrack makes the Motown sound hip again, there'll be benefits for everyone.