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Oh, heavens, what a mess this music-filled comedy-drama is, like four hours of "Glee" crammed into a two-hour package.

In a financially strapped Georgia town, the church choir prepares for a regional competition — but when the longtime choir director Bernard Sparrow (Kris Kristofferson) dies suddenly, control of the choir is split between Bernard's rich wife, G.G. (Dolly Parton), and longtime assistant director Vi Rose Hill (Queen Latifah). Furthering the feud is the budding romance between Vi Rose's sheltered daughter Olivia (Keke Palmer) and G.G.'s rebel grandson Randy (newcomer Jeremy Jordan).

Writer-director Todd Graff ("Bandslam") overloads the story with subplots, to the point where organic character development is hustled along to get to the next flashy musical number. (The production numbers give spirit-raising tweaks to songs by Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Usher, among others.)

Between the prolonged singing and the overloaded drama, "Joyful Noise" manages to be tedious and rushed at the same time. —


'Joyful Noise'

Opens Friday, Jan. 13 at theaters everywhere; rated PG-13 for some language including a sexual reference; 118 minutes.