I'm not going to start this review with anything but the truth: I saw the original Sparkle from 1976 and fell asleep half-way through, and (even before she passed), I only planned on seeing this remake for Whitney Houston.
Everything that didn't work about the original has been tweaked and updated to relate more to today's audience. (Don't fret - it's still set in the Motown era...)
For those who haven't seen the original, Sparkle tells the story of Sparkle, a young song-writer, and her two sisters who form a girl group. The tight-knit family quickly unravels as fame gets the best of them, though.
While I love Jordin Sparks and am glad that she's getting work, Jennifer Hudson she is not... Her vocals are great in this movie, but some of her acting in this movie was just... not. It's hard to play a naive, doe-eyed character without seeming like a Disney star, but when an actress that probably should be a Disney star has to act naive, it's quite and embarrasing and little Doe Eyes is quickly on the way to becoming road kill. Sure, there are parts when Sparks owns her scenes (mostly when her character gets a backbone), but mostly, it's not Sparks we are watching, but instead, her co-stars...
Carmen Ejogo plays Sparkle's sister...Sister... (Listen, I didn't say I approved of the character NAMES...) who becomes the lead singer of the girl group. And baby girl TURNS IT ON in this movie, showing Sister's downward spiral flawlessly. One scene in particular with Mike Epps sticks out in my mind, but details will be left out to protect your movie-watching experience. But as you're watching the movie, just remember Sexy Trash said it first - "Oh.My.God."
And in her last project, the Queen Whitney Houston, is wonderful. Her rendition of "His Eye is on the Sparrow" had me in tears, and I'd be surprised if anyone said otherwise.
As said before, this movie really outshines the original, and if you haven't seen either of them, skip the first and head right for the brighter star of the bunch - the 2012 remake.