If a trailer is boring, the chances of me watching the film for it aren't great. It is supposed to make a first impression, and The High Note didn't appeal to my interest. Nevertheless, I like Ice Cube, so I decided to give it a shot.
The film follows Maggie, an aspiring music producer who works as the personal assistant of Grace Davis, a popular singer whose heyday was in the 90s. Currently, she tours singing her greatest hits. Her manager Jack is trying to lock down a Vegas residency for her, but Grace still wants to continue touring, and possibly sing some new songs, even though her last album didn't do so well. Luckily for her, her assistant has some ideas, as she created a live album of her songs during her free time.
Yeah, the plot surrounding this isn't the strongest. Of course, there is a bit of a love story as well. In a grocery store, Maggie meets David, a talented amateur singer with a great voice. For the experience, she decides to manage him and eventually has a relationship with him. The two actors don't give off the impression that they have feelings for each other.
This film was... bland. Wasn't a total trainwreck, but it wasn't that good either. Kind of like those Hallmark movies you sometimes stumble upon on tv. They exist as a nonthreat and have their audience. I don't think this film would have worked as a theatrical experience. This film is described as a comedy-drama. The drama itself is tame, as the main characters are nice, and the stacks are pretty low, and everything is neatly resolved. For some films, that is just fine, but any actual difficulties are non-existence. Also, it is not funny at all.
Dakota Johnson was miscast in my opinion. She doesn't give off the vibe that she is truly a music lover. It just felt like she recited her lines without putting feeling into it. Another consequence was the character relationships suffered as a result. The chemistry between her and Tracee Ellis Ross is near nonexistence. If Zoe Chao, who plays the sharp-tongued roommate Katie switched roles with her, it would probably be more engaging.
The film was at its best with its surprisingly energetic songs. Tracee Ellis Ross, daughter of Diana Ross has an amazing voice, and I'd love to see her tackle a musical at some point in her career. Kelvin Harrrison Jr also has an amazing set of pipes. This film's soundtrack is strong.
Director Nisha Ganatra entered my radar with last year's Late Night, but it didn't feel like the same person directed this. And in that film, a young woman with a dream connects with an older talented lady whose career needs a reboot. It is more or less the same film, so maybe that's why it feels flat. She should maybe tackle a different project for whatever film she directs next.
The High Note has a basic story and fails to understand how to use its talent on both sides of the camera.
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