Detroit, late 1960s. Strong-willed mother Emma (Whitney Houston) objects to her three daughters forming a girl group. The trio go ahead anyway, leaving their pious mum irate.
Like a cover version, this remake of the 1976 film updates the story of a wannabe singer-songwriter from ’50s Harlem to ’60s Detroit, but otherwise keeps most of the lyrics in place. The music’s better than the plot, which plays out some familiar beats — ambition, agony etc. — as Sparkle and her sisters struggle to launch singing careers, while trying not to alienate their superstar-turned-religious mother (Whitney Houston). While Jordin Sparks has her moments, she is outshone by the late Houston (whose performance reminds us of what a loss her death was). It’s got some soul, but it really swings when people sing.
Some sparkle and plenty of motion.