Monday, October 12, 2009

Fame (2009) - Film Review

Straight up I will tell you not to pay a dime to see this new version of Fame.  I went with two girlfriends to see Fame this weekend, and due to scheduling issues we couldn't even pay the matinee price.  Believe me, we lamented that wasted $10 many times that evening.  We are children of the 80's with very fond memories of the original movie, and the television series.  We saw the new Fame with visions of nostalgia.  We laughed through the movie, but not for the right reasons -- and also because someone was practically coughing up a lung in the front row throughout the entire film.

It is a pale, milquetoast imitation of the original movie.  The kids are talented enough, I suppose, but only Naturi Naughton as Denise stood out for me.  There were so many characters and you flipped so quickly from story to story, that I couldn't have cared less about any of them.  By the end, it didn't matter to me what happened to these kids, and I know I didn't feel that way in the original.  Bebe Neuwirth and Megan Mullalley I suppose were the best used teachers, but I remember much more fireworks between teachers and students.

I think the class and race issues had much more relevance and resonance in the 80's version.  Is it really remarkable that a kid who wants to do electronic music and rap is in a performance school anymore?  In a world with Andre 3000 is it really news?

Perhaps if they had pared down the story lines and focused on a just a few of the kids, it would have made a difference.  This was a train wreck both in the script, direction, and editing.  Did we really need to see the quirky wanna-be director get scammed?  He should have been just an amusing sidekick and his story edited way down.  We never saw enough development of the mousy actress girl -- I can't even remember her character's name now, and couldn't in the movie either -- to know why she suddenly blossomed at graduation and could sing.  She just grew up?  How dramatic!

My friend wondered how Debbie Allen could possibly be involved and "let this happen", but once an actor signs on, they have no control over the final product.  You can't save a movie with two scenes as the tough principal.

At best, watch this on cable, but do not pay to even rent it.  1 and a half stars.

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