Cast: Naturi Naughton, Kay Panabaker, Megan Mullaly, Charles S. Dutton, Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth and Debbie Allen ; Director: Kevin Tancharoen; Producers: Mark Canton, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Richard S. Wright; Screenwriters: Allison Burnett, Christopher Gore; Music: Mark Isham; Editor: Myron L. Kerstein; Genre: Romance, Comedy, Musical; Cinematography: Scott Kevan; Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM); Location: Los Angeles, USA; Running Time: 107 min.;
Technical Assessment: 2.5
Moral Assessment: 2.5
CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above
Fame is a remake of a 1980’s film of the same title. In is set in a New York performing arts school named Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts where we see aspiring actors, singers and dancers from their auditions until their graduation four years later. Jenny (Kay Panabaker) wants to be an actress but is too uptight and shy to let go. Marco (Asher Book) is a carefree singer who falls in love with Jenny. Meanwhile Denise (Naturi Naughton) studies classical piano at her parents insistence when she longs to be a pop singer and Malik (Collins Pennie) hides from his mom that he is enrolled as an actor-rapper. Making sure that the students are well rounded is Principal Angela Simms (Debby Allen) and several other performing arts teacher who show the students how life and drama are intertwined.
There is no reason to produce a Fame remake other than to ride on the success of other musical films. The angst and struggle that made the 1980 version successful is no longer present in the 2009 version. While the characters and their issues are cleaner, the passion and brilliance are disappointing. A main problem is that it tries to present 10 different stories spanning four years in 107 minutes. So no one goes beyond being sketchy caricature stereotypes. The production design’s shoddiness is emphasized over time as none of the characters change appearance even though the plot spans four years. The musical numbers, though, are entertainingly good, showcasing the talents of the casts. Director Kevin Tachareon manages to bring energy to the scenes.
Fame challenges parental authority especially when what they want contradicts what their children feel should be done. No matter if parents only have their child’s welfare in mind. Although being assertive and determined to achieve something important and fulfilling is a laudable virtue, it should not be made at the expense of a strict or uncompromising parent who wishes only to ensure that their children are always on the right path. Fame questions fame itself. It presents success and popularity secondary to having Christ at the center and being fulfilled personally. Fame is not the product of discipline, perseverance and talent but a bonus to being accomplished as a person, as a member of society and as a child of God. Fame emphasizes being true to oneself and using this honesty to harness and unleash one’s creativity and talent. However, the movie contains scenes involving suicide, a sexual situation, underage drinking, bad language and compromising scenes and situations--definitely not suitable for very young audiences.