Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fame (2009)

Directed by Kevin Tancharoen.
2009. Rated PG, 107 minutes.
Kay Panabaker
Naturi Naughton
Kherington Payne
Asher Book
Anna Maria Perez de Tagle
Walter Perez
Megan Mullally
Charles S. Dutton
Debbie Allen

We follow a class of students through their four years at New York's School of the Performing Arts. Any movie that happens to be a remake automatically sends up red flags. Before you even start watching this one, even more than normal go up. It's a PG-rated remake of an R-rated movie and is nearly a half-hour shorter. To me, this screams that it's a stripped down, scrubbed up but ultimately too thin version of the original. Well, that's precisely what it is. It maintains the original's hyper-kinetic energy through it's song and dance routines and may even be better at that aspect. It also manages to have intriguing classroom scenes. In fact, the scenes of teachers teaching are the best in the movie. This is particularly true of the acting classes taught by Mr. Dowd (Dutton). What it lacks is the ability to create any connection between the students and us, the viewers. It both needs and wants us to. However, instead of nurturing that relationship it just bounces along from one melodramatic scene to the next, showing us what happens but never making us feel it. It doesn't help that the students are largely the same on graduation day as they were when they were first auditioning to get into the school. Denise (Naughton) is a notable exception. This is where those extra 30 minutes could've come in handy. They could've been used to fully immerse us in their world rather than leaving us on the outside as it does. In that respect, it's much like 2008's Cadillac Records. It's a movie about people who pour their heart and soul into their craft, but it has no soul of it's own.

MY SCORE: 5/10

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