WHITNEY HOUSTON: I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY – Review by T.J. Callahan

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Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody: “Music is not a color to me.”

Naomi Ackie is moving on up. After previously starring in the TV show The End of the F***king World, a video game, and a podcast series, she’s now lip syncing and snorting her way to the spotlight as the iconic singer Whitney Houston in I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

That’s huge shoes to fill, not to mention 15 to 20 wigs and the gap between her teeth as Ackie takes Houston from a starry-eyed Catholic School girl who sings in church with her perfectionist performing mother to the voice of her generation pushed to the brink by the expectations of others.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody is a Whitney Houston concert for a movie ticket price. We get floor seats to all her classic hits sung by the best selling artist herself. Her final number will bring you to tears knowing she was taken from the world too soon.

As special a voice as Houston had, I Wanna Dance With Somebody is your typical homogenized PG 13 bio pic to appeal to the masses. Domineering parents, talent discovered, fast rise to fame, breakneck touring schedule, unraveling relationships, a fall from grace, rehab, a failed comeback and a sentimental conclusion.

Director Kasi Lemmons took almost two and a half hours to tell Houston’s story, but she only skimmed the surface with details of what motivated Whitney to make the choices she did. The music is the real star.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody is a fast-paced film that moves quicker than the story can keep up with. Go for the tunes and Tucci, Stanley is a spot on Clive Davis. My husband Ricky gives I Wanna Dance With Somebody two happy feet tapping to the beat. I give the film a 7. I’m a sucker for a bio pic.

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T. J. Callahan

Longtime Houston radio personality, T.J. Callahan switched gears from traffic and news reporting as a member of the award winning Hudson and Harrigan Show on KILT to directing you to the right movie theatre as the resident film critic for The Sam Malone Show on AM 1070 The Answer in Houston. Since 2009, T.J. has exclusively critiqued premiering films on such stations as KRMD in Shreveport, La., KILT in Houston, WCKT in Sarasota, Fla., as well as on The Chris X Blayney Show on The Liberty Eagle Radio Network and streaming on Radio Brave. Entertaining and informative, T.J. gets right to the point and lets you know whether the latest epic is worth your time. Listen to her live every Thursday morning at 9:20 central on KNTH. T.J. is also a proud member of the Critics Choice Association, the Houston Film Critics Society and a board member and 2017 inductee to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.