Saturday, October 03, 2009

Fame (*1/2)

Fame. 107 mins. PG. Directed by Kevin Tancharoen. Written by Allison Burnett. Starring Kay Panabaker, Naturi Naughton, Kherrington Payne, Bebe Neuwirth, Kelsey Grammar, Charles S. Dutton, and Megan Mullally.

Look, I love the Step Up movies about as much as a 30 year-old married man should. I'm a huge fan of talent shows like American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. And I'm a former theater major, so the whole art school thing hits a little close to home. But all that being said, I pretty much hated this remake of Fame. Lacking some of the grit and '80s cheese factor of Alan Parker's original, this new Fame is a toothless High School Musical wannabe, with almost nothing in the way of plot and a noticeable lack of charm (or acting ability) from any of the young performers. The movie is broken into four segments that line up with school years, and tracks a group of artists (dancers, singers, actors) as they struggle to overcome parental prejudice, crusty teachers, and the impossibilities of show business. Some succeed, and some fail, but Fame won't make you care a lick about any of them. Each performer's backstory is thinly sketched, and revels in cliches. For example, one performer's disapproving dad takes his daughter to task for wanting to sing "honkytonk music" (i.e., hip hop) rather than play classical piano, but by the end, he's proud of his daughter's hidden singing talents. There are a bunch of groan-worthy scenes, particularly one improvised sing-along in a school cafeteria and another where a teacher (played by Megan Mullally) sings at karaoke while her students go crazy in the audience. With any luck, this Fame will not live forever and instead die a quick death in theaters before getting lost on DVD.

- John


Post a Comment

<< Home