Starring: Jordin Sparks, Whitney Houston, Carmen Ejogo, Tika Sumpter, Mike Epps, Omari Hardwick
Dir: Salim Akil
Opening Weekend Position: #5
Total Domestic Gross: $24.3 million
The Urban Daily Rating: B
A remake of the 1976 classic, Salim and Mara Brock Akil took some creative liberties with the popular musical. The setting has been changed from the slums of Harlem in 1958 to middle class Detroit Michigan, 1968–four years after the Civil Rights act has passed and the same year as the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Whereas the original focused on the title character and the beautiful yet self-destructive Sister (then played by Irene Cara and Lonette McKee), this savvy remake puts the Anderson women front and center. Middle sister Dolores is the brainy pre-med student who doesn’t suffer fools lightly and Tika Sumpter plays the character with a dry and sassy wit. In her final role, Whitney Houston gives a surprisingly touching performance as the steel willed matriarch determined to protect her daughters from the dark side of the music industry at any cost. Carmen Ejogo is mesmerizing as Sister; she’s edgy, calculating yet vulnerable, all while bringing a sexy, vintage glamour reminiscent of Dorothy Dandridge. Mike Epps almost steals the movie as Satin who is suave, comical but always two seconds away from serving a serious pimp slap. While America’s obsession for “the good old days” period dramas have restricted black characters as slaves or maids, Sparkle is a fun and fashionable counterbalance to Hollywood’s tired stereotypes.