Friday April 2, 1999
Grace Zabriskie), shopping and psychic network zealot. Then, a couple of plot developments later, she winds up in Las Vegas with three young guys, Jamie Kennedy's Trent, Steven Petrarca's Joel and Freddie Prinze Jr.'s Brad, who initially are none too eager to have her company but they admit she does have a lot of sparkle.
The guys are trying to win $3,000 at the gambling tables so that they can pay back rent on their L.A. apartment. (Brad passes himself off as an agent, although he's still in the mail room; his pals are unemployed.) After 15 years of marriage, Melba May is out to have herself some fun and intends to look up her high school friend Dottie Delgato (Veronica Cartwright), who went off to Vegas to become a showgirl but all these years later turns up as a stripper in a raucous joint run by Ed (Sandy Martin), a rough, tough lesbian who has become Dottie's possessive protector. Dottie couldn't be more eager to have a night on the town with Melba's three new young friends and zeros in on Brad in particular.
Director Darrell Stein, whose delightful second film, "Jawbreaker," opened a few weeks ago, and his co-writer Catherine Eads make imagination and humor count for more than budget. The result is a sweet little comedy that embraces the full range of sexual orientation affectionately and glows with lively performances. (There are cameos from those redoubtables Gloria LeRoy and Frances Bay.) Overall and Cartwright are especially winning, and Cartwright makes Dottie appealing in the vulnerability and longing that lurks beneath her hard, painted and bewigged surface. "Sparkler" lives up to its name.
Sparkler, 1999. Unrated. A Strand Releasing presentation. Director Darren Stein. Producers Jennifer Amerine, Kimberly Jacobs. Executive producers J. Herbert Niles III, John J. McDonnell III, Walter L. Threadgil, Pamela S. Calloway. Screenplay by Catherine Eads, Stein. Cinematographer Rodney Taylor. Editor Ryan Gold. Music Dave Russo. Costumes Dalhia Schuette. Production designer Chris DiLeo. Art director Sandra Lee Grass. Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes. Park Overall as Melba May. Veronica Cartwright as Dottie Delgato. Don Harvey as Flint. Jamie Kennedy as Trent. Steven Petrarca as Joel. Freddie Prinze Jr. as Brad.