Sister Act was a surprisingly successful movie considering its pretty thin excuse for a fish out of water premise. In this case it was getting a street wise club singer into the habit as a place to hide after being witness to a murder. I must admit that it was fairly entertaining, particularly Maggie Smith's very stern Mother Superior and the occasional comedy nun (fortunately not Eric Idle or Robbie Coltrane this time). The score is one that I'd heard my film music passion got into full swing, I had always been taken with the souped up version of Hail Holy Queen which was given a bit of swing by Goldberg's character in the movie, but of course was actually arranged for the occasion by Marc Shaiman. It should be remembered that Shaiman was arranging for television and various leading singers before he stepped onto the scoring stage with the regularity that he does these days. He certainly proves his sense of humour goes hand in hand with his musical talent and manages to inject some good vocal counterpoint, as well as give the impression of being arranged for a large ensemble, while still being only choir, piano and tambourine.
Of course Deloris likes to add some of her own repatoire (suggested in the bracing medley that opens the album) and so we get choral versions of some well known mowtown (I think the genre is called) classics such as My Guy (My God) and the funky I Will Follow Him and Shout finale medley. Marc Shaiman's actual underscore doesn't last long, but fits in nicely around the songs and contains most of the ideas in the finished movie. There are some small orchestral sections, but the emphasis is mainly on funky, vaguely retro 70s sounding instrumentals. It should be noted that my sister almost unfailingly says 'That sounds just like Sister Act' whenever she catches me listening to Elfman's equally entertaining Midnight Run and I must admit that they are fairly close stylistically, although I don't think I'd actually mistake them. On the other hand, the tenor sax solo in the middle of Nuns to the Rescue does rather bring to mind a Benny Hill sketch. A couple of extremely brief dialogue clips mid cue actually work amusingly in context (Maggie Smith suggesting the sisters 'try to blend in' while looking for Deloris in a casino...)
Aside from the music arranged or composed by Shaiman there are some other pop entries which fit in well with the general tone of the album, the result being more entertaining than usual for this kind of songs and score mixture. That having been said, I tend to just stick to Shaiman's contributions but listening to the entire album is no great hardship. Obviously almost no marks for deep and meaningful scoring, but as with almost all Shaiman scores, full marks for sheer entertainment value and thus recommended.