“SPARKLER”–a true sleeper


A True Sleeper

Amos Lassen

“Sparkler” is a surprise of a film and it seems to have a little something about everything from poverty to gambling to drinking to homosexuality and lesbianism. In other words it is about all of us (no offense intended). The film centers on ad feedbackMelba (Park Overall), a Californian trailer-park girl, who is to look for three kings, according to a phone psychic. When she meets three guys – Trent, Brad and Joel traveling to Las Vegas, she decides they are those kings and joins them on a trip.

“Sparkler” is an indie shot on a small budget in Vegas which throws a bunch of characters from a low life trucker and his wife to a three young broke guys from L.A. to a stripper to a drag queen, etc. into the plot and the movie tries to make sense of it all. Darren Stein, the director has a distinct style and this movie comes across as weird. The title is a reference to refers Melba May, a middle-aged trailer park princess with dreams of getting out and a husband who nails any and every woman he can get to lie down. She meets three young men at a run-down bar who are on their way to Vegas to raise rent money.

Trent (Jamie Kennedy) is innocent and he admires Melba’s self-delusional glamour. He is the one who nicknames her Sparkler and he is lovable simpleton. The other two are more cynical. Joel(StevenPetrarca)is dealing with his repressed homosexuality, and Brad, (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is a boy trying to be a Hollywood agent but is frightened by life and he has to hide behind bluster and sneers. A lost earring and Brad’s business card sends Melba May after them. Melba wins them their rent money and tracks down her showgirl friend from high school, Dottie (Veronica Cartwright), and she is relentlessly pursued by her trailer-trash husband (Don Flint) because she’s won a million dollars in the sweepstakes but does not know it This is a black comedy and some might even find it offensive. I loved it.

“Sparkler” is a lot of fun even with its inability to sustain a consistent tone. “Sparkler” is further undermined by indecisive editing, dingy cinematography and a soundtrack in which some of the dialogue verges on the inaudible. Even so, it will probably become a cult classic and it is a lot of fun if you do not take it seriously.

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