I don’t know how many times this movie has been remade, but the first one came out in 1976 so clearly I wasn’t around for the first one. This movie (if you don’t know the story of Sparkle already) is the tale of 3 sisters trying to make it big in the music industry. The time period is set in the 60s in the musical capital of the world at that time – Detroit. But, a lot of crazy stuff is happening, and it’s just difficult to maintain a quality life because of the mass rioting and killings everywhere, but this wasn’t a movie that specifically focused on that.
In the original ‘Sparkle’, it was set in the same period of time, but in Harlem, New York. I liked the fact that they used Detroit in this one, because when there was a time when Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross & so many other legendary acts were flooding the TVs and concert halls, it made it that much more appealing and it gave the characters a lot of inspiration and aspirations to breakout and be someone. Sparkle (played by Jordin Sparks) was that someone who wanted to breakout, but she didn’t have the courage or the voice to do it. Having to battle that fear plus the fear that her mother (The Late, Great Whitney Houston) instilled in her not to do it, but only to become a church girl who focuses on her studies (which many black people can testify about their parents). She had a lot to deal with, and not to mention her sister (ironically named, Sister) was thirsty for the limelight, and once she got a sip of it, that was it. She played your stereotypical gold-digging diva that wanted nothing but the fancy life and to be the trophy wife.
With all of that said in the previous paragraph, you would think that this would be a really good movie, correct? Well…it tried to get there, but it didn’t quite make it. The problem is when you have an all black cast; it’s truly hit or miss because a lot of potential is essentially thrown away because of the writing and acting. It was particularly the acting. When you try to put Mike Epps and try to put him in a serious role and portray him as a villain, it doesn’t really work…at all. Jordin Sparks (she’s fine as wine good lord almighty) can sing her ass off, we all know this, but when it comes to acting? Meh…a heavy MEH at that. I didn’t really expect this to be a movie that would wow me in any way, but it could’ve at least tried. The problem was that this movie didn’t FEEL like it was set in the 60s, it only looked like it did. You could’ve easily made this into a modernized version.
Derek Luke is a great actor, but he plays some garbage roles. As I was discussing with my boy, Xavier, he really hasn’t done anything GREAT since Friday Night Lights (the scene where he breaks down in the car gets me EVERY TIME). It’s a shame because he’s a great actor, but just doesn’t get the roles. I’ll give him a pass for this one since his character’s name is ‘Stix’, which actually caught me off guard like “HUH?” But, like I said, I didn’t watch the original or remakes, so it was a surprise.
The best thing about this movie really is the music. Cee-Lo made an appearance for like 6 minutes, but he still showed off his voice, and at times throughout the movie, there were good examples of that, but a lot of it was more focused on the lead singer and not Sparkle, and at the same time, there were 3 sisters, so there had to be some balance, but what I could understand and take from the movie is something that I’m dealing with myself – when it comes to standing up to your parents to tell them that you want to chase after something to make your life better, it can be a scary thing, and that’s what Sparkle had to endure, but sometimes (no no, ALL THE TIME) you need to get over that hurdle and have a voice for yourself; that’s the only way you’ll be able to progress. That I liked. There was a lot of romance tied in, and it showed that behind the glimmer of the lights and the roars of the crowd, that superstars often live a brutal life (as we’ve known about Ike & Tina Turner).
I liked the fact that Whitney Houston’s death didn’t overshadow Jordin Sparks’ starring role, and the focus was more on her, even though people knew that this was Whitney’s last movie (and it was weird to see her after the death like Aaliyah in ‘Queen of the Damned’ & Isaac Hayes & Bernie Mac in ‘Soul Men’). This movie is a rental and definitely one you to on a date. Thank God I did, because I would have been bored out of my skull, I’ll tell you that much. That’s just me, this is my opinion; this is my review
That’s My Word & It STiXX