When Salim Akil’s ‘Sparkle’ opens on Aug. 17, the musical drama will have its work cut out for itself as it tries to distance the fictional film from an unfortunate dose of tragic reality that hangs over the production like a cloud. As you know, Whitney Houston died shortly after filming ‘Sparkle,’ making this her final on-screen performance. Morbid curiosity will attract some ticket buyers, but if the movie wants to stand on its own two legs as a form of entertainment, it’s going to have to sell us on the talent in the cast, and this new clip reminds us what’s in store.

‘Sparkle’ is brimming with musical talent. ‘American Idol’ winner Jordin Sparks has a voice that carries for miles. Cee-Lo Green is a hit machine, and likely has another with this bouncy “I’m a Man.” Yes, Houston is featured in this new teaser, but the filmmaker’s making the right decision by including her in a montage that’s mainly put together to celebrate the music.

Will ‘Sparkle’ be able to completely distance itself from the late pop singer? Absolutely not. And it won’t want to ignore the fact that Houston’s in the movie. But fans should want to see ‘Sparkle’ because Sparks is an up-and-coming talent, or because Derek Luke and Mike Epps are compelling leading men. People only glance at a traffic accident as they pass on by. Akil wants audiences to stop, look, and linger. If the music in ‘Sparkle’ is as infectious as this number, the movie could be a hit.

This new clip arrives via MTV. It’s largely a performance piece, though there’s footage from the movie sprinkled throughout. ‘Sparkle’ opens everywhere on Aug. 17.

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