Wednesday, August 22

REVIEW: Sparkle

Directed by Salim Akil
Musical Drama
1 hour 56 minutes
From Tri Star

Jordin Sparks
Whitney Houston
Carmen Ejogo
Tika Sumpter
Derek Luke
Mike Epps
Omari Hardwicke

Sparkle was not on my must-see list of movies because the storyline is tiresome to me; it's been done a gazillion times and in fact this film itself is a remake of a 1976 film starring Irene Cara and Lonette McKee.  Dreamgirls is essentially the same story.

My reasons for seeing it, other than another chance to sit in the dark of a movie theater and gaze up at that big screen, cell phone turned off, thank you, is the big screen debut of lovely Jordin Sparks and the film finale of Whitney Houston.  It was also filmed in an area I've come to know so well, always making it fun to see places you know.

Despite the mundane story, the folks involved pulled it off very well.  If you don't know the storyline, it concerns a trio of Motown sisters who become singers, one of whom soars, while the family structure takes a tumble.

Houston never did make many movies but I thought she always took to it like a bird to flight.  Here she is a single mother to three gorgeous (and I mean gorgeous) daughters who have show business aspirations much to her chagrin.  This was the first time she played a mother to young adults and she certainly looked the part.  I saw her as having grown gracefully into middle age.  She brought her natural toughness to the part and was stressed out for most of it.  It is during the film's final scenes where she herself sparkled.  I found myself wondering as I soaked up her role as a troubled mother what kind of a movie career she would have had had she gotten the chance.

Sparks has taken her popular win from American Idol and her sensationally clear voice and parlayed it into that of an actress.  Lovely to look at, she was sincere and truthful as the young singer determined to make it big.  As much as I enjoyed her work, I do not want to diminish the contribution of the actresses playing her sisters, Carmen Ejogo and Tika Sumpter.  Both were pitch perfect.

Additionally, the guys were great too.  Derek Luke as Sparkle's beau and Mike Epps as Sister's (Ejogo) maniacal partner and Omari Hardwicke is the partner she should have stuck with particularly stand out.

I quite imagine that this will be a much-seen film and will end up in some personal collections when available.  And that's fine.  It does generate an interest for sure.  And I enjoyed it.  The storyline, the writing is everything to me and when it's something original, something that is different, it is even more impressive.

NEXT POSTING:  Coming in September

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