So far, they’re lukewarm.
But the reaction wasn’t lukewarm from the folks who attended a private screening of the movie earlier this week.
Here’s just a bit of the reaction on Twitter:
Proverbs31isME: “Just left a private screening of sparklemoivie and JordinSparks was AMAZING. I salute her skill n effort she put in this film.”
caitlin_hallada: “@JordinSparks: Just saw a preview of Sparkle! Words can’t describe how good it was! You’re amazing.
_Regan_Horan: “@JordinSparks: Just saw Sparkle! It was awesome. My favorite song was One Wing. You looked beautiful and you’re an amazing singer!”
The Hollywood Red Carpet premiere was Thursday night. Head here for a photo gallery.
Locally, the film will play in one theater this weekend at both Regal Cinemas at the West Manchester Mall and Frank Theatres at Queensgate.
Now, here’s what the critics are saying, and I’ll be adding more as new reviews are available.
Florida Today: Gives the film a “good” rating. Says of Jordin: “In her film debut, it’s hard to gauge how good an actress Sparks is. She smiles radiantly, looks spectacular and sings like a dream, but the part doesn’t require her to express much more than quiet determination. It will be interesting to see her stretch in future projects.”
RedEye Chicago: Gives the film 2.5 stars out of 4. Says of Jordin: “Nineteen-year-old Sparkle (Jordin Sparks, not much of an actress) wants to be a star but fears singing alone, so she’s glad when manager Stix (ever-reliable Derek Luke) includes Sparkle’s sisters, Sister (Carmen Ejogo) and Dee (Tika Sumpter, in the movie’s best performance), in the act.”
TwinCities.com: Gives the film 2.5 stars out of 4, with his praise for Whitney, but not the film as a whole. As for Jordin: “Sparks has a big singing voice and an appealing personality, but that’s not enough on-screen, where she comes off as bland. Her live performances are proficient, but she has neither the towering emotional power of Houston nor the sexy, unhinged danger of Carmen Ejogo, who plays Sister. And when the title character of a musical is only the third-most-interesting performer on-screen, that’s a bum note.”
Chicago Tribune: Gives the film 3 stars. About Jordin: “Sparks, as Sparkle, has a warm and pleasing screen quality. She’s a tad bland, but so is the character as written.”
New York Daily News: Gives the film 3 stars out of 5. About Jordin: “Really, the film is meant to be a showcase for Sparks. But while she is a sweet presence, she isn’t a natural actress. She lacks the vulnerability of Irene Cara, the original Sparkle, and doesn’t seem fully comfortable until the soaring finale, when she’s allowed to tap into her true gift: her voice.”
The Star-Ledger (N.J.): Gives the movie 2.5 stars and says it can’t compare to “Dreamgirls.” Also says Carmen Ejogo’s character, Sister, steals the show. About Jordin: “Sparks, in her first major acting role, is only adequate — but then again, she isn’t given much to work with. Truth be told, Sparkle is a bit of a drag, a shy goody-goody who takes too long to develop a backbone. It’s ironic that the singer-turned-actress is the one who doesn’t find own voice until very late in the film.”
People: Gives the film 1.5 stars out of 4. “If Dreamgirls was a diamond, Sparkle is a cubic zirconia: It feels like a cheap imitation of the real thing,” the review says.
San Francisco Chronicle: Gives the film applause. About Jordin: “‘Sparkle’ was made by smart people who built on their star’s strengths, accounted for her weaknesses and didn’t lean on her to carry the whole picture. Sparks’ strengths include not just a powerful voice but also a radiant niceness, and that becomes part of the story.”
New York Times: Gives “Sparkle” a generally so-so review. Of Jordin: “Ms. Sparks is not much of an actress. Or at least her character, as conceived, is so innocent that she doesn’t seem fully aware of the melodramas swirling around her. But this 2007 winner of “American Idol,” who has slimmed down since her victory, has a wonderful voice.”
Washington Post: Gives “Sparkle” 2.5 stars out of 4 saying “it turns out to be a surprisingly poignant swan song” for Whitney Houston. As for Jordin: “Sparks does a terrific job with her big number, a barn burner called “One Wing” on which she holds her own before three backup singers, an orchestra and an enormous gospel choir.”