Aug 16, 2012

It barely shines.

Sparkle <?xml:namespace prefix = o />

Grade: C

Director: Sam Akil (Jumping the Broom)

Screenplay: Mara Brick Akil

Cast: Jordin Sparks, Whitney Houston

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 116 min

by John DeSando


The year’s most tedious musical, the new Sparkle, has hit the late summer screens with a whimper, and that includes all the respect I can give to producer and supporting actress Whitney Houston. But the late star should have known that the old star is born motif needs more than clichés, and I wish she hadn’t awarded herself the most thankless role in the movie.

American Idol’s Jordin Sparks plays Sparkle, the most demure of three singing sisters in the early sixties but potentially the most talented of them all through her writing. Suffice it to say the languid 116 minutes contain the usual ups and downs associated with singing groups on film with the obvious purpose to crown one as a star.

Houston’s role of the overprotective mother may be slightly more rewarding than Derek Luke’s as the loving, sometimes manipulative and self-centered manager.  Wait, wait, I have another more unsympathetically clichéd character: Satin, the black TV comedian, played smarmy and brutal as is convention by Mike Epps.  Satin scoops up the flashiest, sexiest of the sisters only to make everyone sorry he did.  No surprises.

Throughout this mediocre musical retreading, too few musical numbers occur, and when they do, they too loosely fit the storyline of the emerging trio and infrequently give the audience superior music.

I love screen  musicals like Chicago and even Step Up, but Sparkle for a new age is too old a vibe.



John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics,which can be heard streaming and on-demand at

He also appears on Fox 28’s Man Panel

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