Director: Kevin Tancharoen
Cast: Kelsey Grammar, Debbie Allen, Charles S. Dutton, Megan Mullally
Plot: Several students join a Performing Arts College only to find that the road to fame isn’t as easy as they first assumed.
OK, let’s start by forgetting this movie is a reboot of a 1980s classic.
2009’s Fame drops the camera into the auditions for a high end Performing Arts College and we are instantly thrown into the struggles for those hoping to achieve fame. The story is split between the actors, the singers, the dancers and the classic instrument players, jumping from each story constantly. The young teenagers are appropriately challenged, tormented and eventually succeed in roaring success. Going into a film like this, especially one being fuelled by a past incarnation, we expect little to shock us. Fame will be a feel-good movie about kids chasing their dreams, achieving them after some hardships and eventually singing a catchy musical number about it all. However, with a movie that isn’t going to break out of its limited story too often, it needs to find a new way to tell it. Perhaps hit some hidden depths to the story; have an unconventional lead. Fame goes for the ‘more is more’ approach and cuts between several students going through the same struggles. A teachers tells a ballet dancer he is not good enough to make a career out of it. A young actress cannot let go off her comfort zone. A piano player rather make his own music than replicate the greats that came before him. And here is the critical problem with this movie. In jumping so liberally between each character, no steam is ever built up. With a cast that feature several newbies (cast on their individual talents, rather than acting abilities), and featuring strong actors in minor teaching roles, there isn’t really anything memorable sticking out in any particular story. There is a shocking low point for one of the students, but because the build-up isn’t there, it feels like just another part of the story. It is a film that could quite easily be stuck on in the background and largely forgotten about. The directional style of the film is clearly meant to going for a sort of reality TV style. It feels like a fly-on-the-wall documentary, cutting into the lives of these struggling students and giving us a peek into what it is like to be a struggling actor. However, the issue with this approach is that there are quite a few genuine reality TV shows that have this approach. Why would we watch a scripted, fictionalised version of this story, when we can watch real people go through real struggles? There is no guaranteed fixed story to reality shows. For that reason, there is a sense of pointlessness about the 2009 version of Fame that is impossible to shake off while watching it.
And also, it doesn’t hold a candle to the 1980s version.
Final Verdict: Another film to add to the useless reboot pile. Too disjointed to hold its story, it fails to conjure up a lick of emotion.