Fame: Movie Review
Cast: Asher Book, Paul McGill, Naturi Naughton, Paul Iacono,
Debbie Allen, Kelsey Grammer, Charles S. Dutton, Kay Panabaker, Walter Perez,
Megan Mullally, Anna Maria Perez de Taglé
Director: Kevin Tancharoen
Fame costs - and right here, is apparently where you start paying.
When asking around the office about Fame memories, there were common themes -
whether it's the legwarmers or Leroy, everyone's got an opinion on this iconic
film and TV series.
So you'd have to wonder how massive a challenge it would be to rewrite the
film and update it for a more savvy audience in 2009.
The latest version features a cast of relative unknowns as the wannabes who
are put up against the acting talents that are Charles S Dutton, Kelsey Grammer,
Bebe Neuwirth and Megan Mullally (who all play teachers in this.)
The film begins with a smattering of auditions as the Performing Arts school
gets ready for a new year - and a new batch of would be famous people.
Thereafter, it's broken up into the four years (from freshman year,
sophomore, junior and senior year) the cast are at the school for - and their
various trials and tribulations in the run up to graduation.
Let's lay this on the line here - as you can tell from the summary, there are
no main or major characters - and it's difficult to describe Fame as an ensemble
Concentrating on the positive for a moment - the whole film is brilliantly
choreographed and has a tremendous energy during the scenes of dancing and
singing - every one of those involved in those respective scenes gives 110%.
But therein lies the major problem for Fame - it's too unfocussed.
There are around 10 "leads" whose lives are followed over a four year period
during the film's 100 minute duration - as any basic mathematician will tell you
that doesn't leave much time for either character development, consistent plot
or time to get to love those who faces the obstacles.
And here's another problem - the obstacles that these kids face are
unfortunately so predictable and stereotyped you can see them coming a mile
Every talent cliche is there - the classical pianist who's a genius but who
just wants to cut loose and sing - against the wishes of her father; the naïve
young actress who doesn't believe the sleazeball will hit on her; the jealous
boyfriend; the rapper who's father left; the actress who can't trust her
instincts and cut loose because of self doubt&
It's just so disappointing to see as it the predictability of the situations
can be seen a mile off - and I know films are supposed to be escapism and not
set in any kind of reality, but how can you put characters into these situations
when everyone has seen these kind of dilemmas before?
The young cast give it their all in each heavily choreographed set piece
after set piece - but when it comes to dialogue, unfortunately they're acted off
the screen by the old guard of Grammer, Neuwirth, Mullally and Dutton.
You can't fault the energy of Fame - it's just a shame none of the major
songs are as memorable as Irene Cara's original theme and the whole production