The Fighting Temptations
The Fighting Temptations is a 2003 romantic comedy film produced by Paramount Pictures and MTV Films. It stars Cuba Gooding, Jr. and singer BeyoncÃ© Knowles as they attempt to revive a town’s choir traditions in a modern society and along the way they fall in love with each other.
Darrin Hill (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) is a successful advertising executive from 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 but his lies gets him in trouble with his paranoid boss (Dakin Matthews) and he loses his job. He also finds out that his beloved Aunt Sally (Ann Nesby) has died.
A day or two later he travels back to his hometown in Monte Carlo, Georgia and has some heartbreaking memories of his late mother (Faith Evans) and townsfolk of his hometown. When he arrives he finds a new friendship in Lucious (Mike Epps), a happy-go-lucky, wanna-be pimp. In the film, he proclaims himself a “Booty expert” and “Bootyologist”. Lucious soon points out Lilly (BeyoncÃ© Knowles), a gorgeous lounge singer with an astonishing voice. He explains to Darrin that she is one of the most beautiful women in town with the best booty (in his own words). Lilly was also a childhood crush of Darrin, who would always con him out of his candy every sunday. He would try to bribe her with the candy by asking her to be his girlfriend and she always said “No” but still took his candy. The main reason why she rejected him all the time was because she wanted to marry Michael Jackson when she grew up. After Sally’s funeral he encounters Paulina (Latanya Richardson), the town hypocritical bully who immediately shows that she does not like Lilly nor Darrin.
The good-hearted reverend (Wendell Pierce) who is also Paulina’s brother, informs Darrin that Sally’s final wish is that he must lead the Beulah Baptist Church choir to victory at a gospel competition called “Gospel Explosion” and win the prize money of $10,000. If he succeeds, he will receive Sally’s entire investment in Georgia Telecom – worth $150,000. Darrin takes on the job by lying he is a music producer in order to take the money and pay off his credit trouble. He quickly learns that the town is full of colorful characters but short on talented singers. After a stressful effort, he later manages to persuade Lilly to join his choir despite Paulina’s cruel ways. Some of the people he later recruited are Alma (Angie Stone), the clerk at the local dry cleaners who likes the Reverend, Bessie (Melba Moore) a member of the church who’s afraid of Paulina, Scooter (Mickey Jones), a silly drunk who plays the organ, three barbers (The O’Jays), a young rapper (Zane Copeland Jr.), and he even gets Lucious to join. But the only reason why he was able to recruit all these people was because he lied to them saying he’d split the prize money with them 50/50, starting with Lucious. He has no intentions of paying none of them. As time progresses he learns that Lilly has a son (Darrell Vanterpool) that she had out of wedlock and that’s why most of the people in town hate her so much. The choir becomes a big success and more people join the choir and the church. He also finally becomes romantically involved with Lilly and they then begin to realize that they love each other. With Lucious and the reverend’s help some of the choir members that they find include prison convicts who they found while performing at the local prison when the strict warden (Faizon Love) needed someone to fill in for the day’s entertainment.
Throughout the film, announcements of choir auditions and personal thoughts on daily topics are made on the radio by the town’s drunkard DJ, Miles “Smoke” (comedian Steve Harvey).
A few weeks pass, and while they are looking for Sally’s box of letters in her house before everything gets packed away, Lilly and Darrin share their first kiss. As he is walking her home, she reminds him that fighting temptation can make you a stronger person but he replies that it can ruin their chance at a relationship but she tells him that he’ll have more chances in the future. That same night, Paulina discovers Darrin’s secret. She purposely reveals it the following afternoon at the church’s barbecue, but she does it with a polite demeanor. She reveals how has been lying about what his job really is, how he got fired and has been in debt. A worried Lucious asks about his half of the prize money. All the other people he promised begin to question him also. Lilly is furious with him and her son, Dean asks him was he leaving or not. Darrin looks over at Lilly for approval but she lies to him saying that she doesn’t care about him or what he does because she was only using him just like he was using her. He asks her did she really mean that but she only responds by giving him an evil stare. He calls Rosa immediately and tells her he’ll be back tomorrow. When he returns to New York, he gets his job back and a promotion. He also moves into a condo filled with lavish furniture. He comes to realize that none of those things mean anything without the people that matter to him, the townsfolk and Lilly. During a meeting, he has flashbacks of the town and realizes he misses them so he quits his job and returns to Monte Carlo.
When he returns on the day of the competition he sees that Paulina has taken over his choir and kicked his friends out of the choir such as: Lucious, Lilly and the Reverend. He apologizes to Lilly and together they recruit Lucious and the Reverend to go to the competition and stop Paulina.
When they get there, Darrin and the Reverend manage to convince the choir members to vote out Paulina and Darrin takes control again. He also tells Lilly that she inspired him to name the choir THE FIGHTING TEMPTATIONS (something she mentions earlier in the film). They go out and perform, The song is a huge hit, and they receive a standing ovation.
The show’s hosts, Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams announce the winners, “The Fighting Temptations” and they win the prize money.
Darrin makes his acceptance speech thanking the choir for all of their hard work and he also proposes to Lilly and she accepts.
Eighteen months later, the church is repaired and refurbished and Paulina drops her hypocritical ways and rejoins the choir.
Darrin and Lilly are married with a baby
The film ends with Lilly singing one more song with Alma and Bessie.
Before the end credits, Lucious bothers Darrin and Lilly’s baby but Lilly’s grandfather looks back at him with an evil stare and Lucious immediately backs off.