DVD Features Early Performances by Terrence Howard and Nicole Ari Parker
I’m not sure what struggling actors call it, but musicians call it paying dues. That’s what anybody seeing Spark will witness, because Terrence Howard and Nicole Ari Parker made this pathetic psychological thriller back in 1998 before they became household names. Howard’s breakout role in The Best Man arrived a year later, while Parker’s came in 2000 as Denzel’s wife in Remember the Titans.
You have a good idea how hesitant a studio is about releasing a flick when it has been collecting dust on the shelf for almost a decade. And in line with those low expectations, Spark wasn’t worth the wait, and it isn’t really even worthwhile to watch for hints of its stars’ imminent emergence.
The plot, which sounds promising enough, revolves around a black couple from Chicago (Howard and Parker) headed for L.A. where she’s about to start college. But they never arrive because their car breaks down soon after hitting a dog while they’re driving across a barren desert.
They have their auto towed to the closest gas station which is in the middle of nowhere and next to a diner filled with rednecks who make them feel uncomfortable. Yet, since it’s going to be a while before the repairs can be made, the two have to pray that the locals aren’t racist. As the wait lengthens from hours into days, the goings-on gradually get increasingly grisly.
But any potential this film might have had is ruined by the dialogue which appears to be improvised, and is unnecessarily laced with the n-word, the f-word, the b-word and other profanities for the duration. Shot on the cheap in what appears to be an abandoned ghost town, it looks like the only thing they bothered to budget for was cuss words.
Nicole and Terrence, now we knew you when.