There have been worse swan songs committed to film, but Salim Akil's reinterpretation of the 1976 musical drama leaves much to be desired, since the meteoric rise and fall of a three-piece girl group is now well-tread, Oscar-nominated territory. But while the movie may be exploiting its notoriety as Whitney Houston's last film appearance, it does her justice, giving her plenty of dialogue and even a song. Unlike Dreamgirls, though, here the music never quite touches the soul. Even worse, the story takes melodramatic turns that threaten to stray into camp, and newcomer Jordin Sparks as the reserved titular character doesn't have the finesse to avoid it. Nor does the sloppy camerawork, stilted acting, and bad lip-synching help the cause. Overall Sparkle serves as a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of the music industry, a fate tragically suffered by one of its stars.