(out of 5)
Unmemorable remake of the 1976 Irene Cara vehicle whose ambition to be the next Dreamgirls is obvious, and only makes it that much more forgettable. Making her feature film debut, American Idol songstress Jordin Sparks does a more than decent job in the title role of a girl whose desire to write music is at direct odds with the bitterness of her mother (Whitney Houston in her final film performance), who was chewed up and spit out by the music industry and is determined that none of her daughters repeat her mistakes. The lasses sneak out at night when their mother is not looking, to perform Sparkle’s songs as a girl trio and, eventually, they begin to climb in popularity. Personal problems must arise, as they often do, when eldest girl Sister gives in to a Bad News boyfriend type, and Sparkle must decide whether or not the dream is worth it. Some of the original Curtis Mayfield songs have been retained, while the new material written for the film is hardly worth mentioning. It is nice to see how well Houston does despite the fact that we now know that she was on the brink of disaster; otherwise, don’t expect too much.
Directed by Salim Akil
Cinematography by Anastas N. Michos
Music by Salaam Remi
Production Design by Gary Frutkoff
Costume Design by Ruth E. Carter
Film Editing by Terilyn A. Shropshire