No one's going to call Sparkle a work of cinematic genius: It's a no-surprises remake about the struggles of a 1960s girl group. But if you're a Whitney Houston fan, it may be meaningful:
- In the Washington Post, Ann Hornaday applauds the film. It "may have begun as nothing more than a tuneful, diverting nostalgia trip, but it turns out to be a surprisingly poignant swan song," she writes. There's an eerie element to Houston's character, who "warns against the depredations of an entertainment industry that indulges and exploits young talent just as intently as it nurtures it."
- In Rolling Stone, Peter Travers calls the movie "a formula job from scene one to dead end." Still, there's one Houston song ("His Eye Is on the Sparrow") that "almost redeems" the film. "In a movie that feels fake to its core, Houston is the genuine article."
- During that scene, "I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the house," notes Sara Stewart in the New York Post. "If you’re still mourning Houston’s death, it’s almost enough of a reason to go."
- But remember, the movie is more of a "showcase vehicle for a new generation of young actress-hyphen-singers" than a celebration of Whitney. And as for star Jordin Sparks, she "fails to sparkle in any way," writes Courtney Shea in the Globe and Mail.