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Fame

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I snuggled onto my couch and watched the original 1980 version of Fame. The movie was full of f-bombs, had brief nudity, and also fairly believable acting performances. Despite a few shots that are exact replicas of the 1980 version, the 2009 version of "Fame" only has a couple damns. Nudity? Out of the question. Needless to say, it has been a little watered down to receive it's PG rating. How else could the film attract the multitudes of Disney Channel viewers? But the lack of constant slews of swears words are not really what make this film mediocre.

This remake follows students from their auditions through their graduation from the prestigious New York Academy of Performing Arts. One problem is there are just too many characters. I couldn't remember their names, let alone connect with any of them. Out of the entire film, each main character received about 20-25 minutes of time on the screen total. The whole first half of the movie I thought that Marco (the singer) and Kevin (the dancer) were actually the same character. In the first Fame film, all the actors had limited exposure, but the characters were easily distinguishable and more developed. Part of the film's charm was suppose to be it's cast of young, relatively unknown actors. But the best acting came from the better known veterans like Kelsey Grammar, Debbie Allen, and Megan Mullaly.

The young actors were definitely musically talented and it showed on screen. Well, everyone but Kay Panabaker. The whole film I was wondering why Jenny Garrison (Panabaker) was even accepted into this ultra elite school. She blew the audition, sang terribly in class, and was less than acceptable in her acting class. The singing teacher Fran Rowan (Mullaly) howls out a song towards the end of the movie that I thought was much less impressive than her students. But the rest of the cast consists of very exceptional performing arts talent.

Considering that "Fame" is suppose to be a character driven movie, underdeveloped characters walk hand in hand with an underdeveloped plot. The film is full of cliches.The love story between Marco and Jenny seems completely rushed. Their dinner-date is filled with a corny seranade, follwed by cheesy love lines, and at the end the two sing a very Troy and Gabriella-esque duet. Honsetly, I didn't know enough about these characters to care whether their pasteurized relationship worked out. Malek and his mother argue when she realizes that he secretly attends this performing arts school. Despite that fact that he has brought home a good academic report card, she just doesn't think music is what he should concentrate on. My question is if Malek is from the "hood," wouldn't a concerned mother rather her son pour energy into music than spend his time in a gang or in the streets? Especially, if he is still earning exceptional grades. So, this just seemed like script writers needed some sort of conflict for Malek and threw in parental issues.

Another issue was that classical pianist Denise's angry father yells that he doesn't want her doing "honky tonky music," and that this girl wears clothes like a pink polo under a light pink Lacoste sweater. Her outfits screamed, "YES, THIS GIRL IS A GOODY TWO SHOES!" (Just in case you didn't get the hint from the fact that Denise does everything her parents say at the beginnning of the film.)

By the end, I was bored of watching the screen flip through 8 different stories every couple minutes. I was looking forward to the students' graduation. I would say that if you want to watch another cute tween movie, "Fame" is a good film to check out. You may not know much about the main characters or the point of the movie, but you will definitely be entertained.





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