"Sparkle": What critics are saying

Emma (Whitney Houston) and Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) in TriStar Pictures' "Sparkle."
Alicia Gbur/TriStar Pictures
Emma (Whitney Houston) and Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) in TriStar Pictures' "Sparkle."
Alicia Gbur/TriStar Pictures

(CBS News) "Sparkle," the film that captures the final screen appearance of the late Whitney Houston, hits theaters today and already it's being hailed by some critics as a moving swan song for the late pop icon.

Pictures: Whitney Houston: 1963-2012
Read More: "Sparkle" actor: Whitney was always laughing

In the film, musical prodigy Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) and her two sisters (Carmen Ejogo and Tika Sumpter) strive to become a dynamic singing group during the Motown era, while balancing the challenges their new life brings. Houston plays the girls' mother.

The film has received a mix of reviews, with some hailing the film as entertaining, while others criticizing it for being too cliche. The film received a 55 percent review on aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

Here's what some of the critics had to say:

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times: " 'Sparkle' isn't blindingly original but it delivers solid entertainment, and despite the clichés I was never for a moment bored. "

Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post:" 'Sparkle' trafficks in the same gorgeous Motown style -- sonic and visual -- that made the original film, and "Dreamgirls" after it, such delectable fun." She later states, "'Sparkle' may have begun as nothing more than a tuneful, diverting nostalgia trip, but it turns out to be a surprisingl poignant swan song."

Stephen Holden of the New York Times: "In many ways "Sparkle" is a bumpy ride. The editing is haphazard, the cinematography too dark, and there are holes in the story. If the new songs on the soundtrack are effective Motown pastiches, most of them pale beside their prototypes. But diluted Motown is better than none."

Sara Stewart of the New York Post: "Depending on your depth of feeling about Whitney Houston, the Motown-era musical 'Sparkle' will either feel like a fond (and sometimes cringe-inducing) farewell to an old friend, or a wholly unremarkable entry in the already overcrowded star-is-born genre."