It is a remake of the gritty 1976 urban drama of the same name. However, this version written by Mara Brock Akil, from a story by Joel Schumacher (who wrote the original 1976 screenplay) and Howard Rosenman, starts with a lot of promise but quickly descends in a pit of clichés and stereotypes.
It does however have a great soundtrack, but why wouldn’t it with all the musical talent. The movie does entertain but the predictability of the script and story serve as a huge distraction and drag the film into a level of mediocrity.
Sparkle is of course Whitney Houston's last film and also her labor of love, serving as Executive Producer and her character of Emma, the girls mother who's own singing career led her down a path of self destruction. The film has lines that haunt us from the grave, mirroring her own life with a morbid similarity. It's a reach for the audience to suspend belief that Houston's character sleeps through her daughters meteoric rise to fame without any knowledge of what's going on behind her back, but Houston’s presence alone in the film should be enough to pack the movie house for weeks to come.
Sparkle really starts off with a shine, opening with a cameo by Cee-Lo Green singing a driving song and the Motown beat is also welcomed but soon undone by a
been-there-done that script.
One great number by Houston and Sparks at the very end of the film leaves the audience clapping on the way out but this version of Sparkle is too ridden with stereotypical clichés to ever really shine like the title suggests.
Sparkle is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for mature thematic content involving domestic abuse and drugs, some violence, language and smoking.
Running time: 116 minutes.