I agree with USA Today reporter Claudia Puig’s review: “Sparkle is a fitting curtain call for Houston.”
It was one of the main reasons I decided to watch this film. A long-time fan of Whitney Houston, I was shocked and saddened by her death in February of this year. While she didn’t sing until near the end of the film, her voice and choice of lyrics—the gospel hymn, “His Eye is on the Sparrow”—was extremely moving.
Unfortunately, the rest of the film did not deliver.
A remake of the 1976 film starring Irene Cara, the film focuses on big-dreamer Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) and her two sisters (Carmen Ejogo and Tika Sempter). After Stix (Derek Luke) falls for Sparkle and her impressive song-writing talent, he persuades her to form an all-girl group with her sisters. Houston plays the part of Emma, the girls’ overbearing mother, who turned toward the church after experiencing her own challenges in the music industry.
While I enjoyed listening to former American Idol champion Jordin Sparks sing, I was not impressed by her acting ability. Damaged and vulnerable Sister (Ejogo) is the real showstopper as she takes center stage in her micro minis and provocative moves. Offstage, she scrambles for her next fix and deals with an abusive husband.