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SPARKLE: Whitney's 12+-Year-Long Labor Of Love Comes To Fruition

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WWJ) – Imagine taking a movie as beloved as Sparkle and updating it for the 21st century. No small feat – to say the least. But that's exactly what the producers of Sparkle did with their version of Sparkle – in theaters today – executive-produced by Whitney Houston, who also stars in the film as Emma, the mother of Sparkle, Delores and Sister.

In this updated version of Sparkle, the time frame changes from 1950's Harlem to 1960's Detroit - particularly fitting since the movie was filmed in Detroit and pays homage to the Motown sound.

But, does it work? And does Houston deliver? Yes, and yes.

Although American Idol winner Jordin Sparks stars in the title role – and she certainly does herself and the movie proud - make no mistake about it: this is Houston's baby. Everyone who plunks down their hard-earned money to see this film undoubtedly wants to see Houston in her final on-screen performance. And when she appears onscreen, her sheer appearance alone commands the spotlight. During her much-anticipated church solo, Houston's voice is powerful, her performance reminiscent of the Houston her fans grew to know and love.

The movie's director, Salim Akil, says of Houston: "What she's giving you in this film is what she's given consistently since we've known her as an artist and that is quality, subtlety, knowing how to play the quiet moments and knowing how to restrain herself in the bigger moments, so that her Emma anchors the movie. She was excited about playing it, and she's amazing in it."

During a special Red Carpet screening at the Emagine Royal Oak on August 5th, Sparks told WWJ's Terri Lee that Houston's fans are going to be thrilled to see her back on the big screen.

"I know that they're going to be very, very excited," Sparks said. "I think they're going to be pleasantly surprised. You know, Whitney has never failed, or given a horrible performance when she's up on the big screen and she doesn't do it here. She delivers."

Yes, Houston definitely delivers, as does the rest of the star-studded cast. Starring in Sparkle along with Houston and Sparks are Derek Luke, Mike Epps, Carmen Ejogo, Tika Sumpter, Omari Hardwick ad CeeLo Green as Black.

And one side note about Green: His performance as Black is NOT one to be missed. So, if you're going to see Sparkle, get there early, sit back and wait for one soul-stirring performance!

Sparkle is rated PG-13.

Visit the official website and watch the trailer here and I'll see you at the movies!

Follow Terri on Twitter @TerriJLee

Emma (Whitney Houston) in TriStar Pictures' SPARKLE.
MO8140 - Sparkle
Jordin Sparks (left) and Whitney Houston star in the remake of SPARKLE
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