Fame - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Fame Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 5, 2009
An underrated remake of a great film with new characters dealing with personal conflicts and following their dream to become a famous star, and while the first hour is engaging, I am glad that the film doesn't get ruined by that lame Broadway-like ending.
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2009
This movie is shot like a documentary following a group of teenagers from their auditions to their graduation from the Performing Arts school in New York. It is not as wholesome as High School Musical, nor is it as gritty as the original Fame movie. The music is modern and relevant for today's reality TV addicts. Good movie.
Super Reviewer
½ November 25, 2010
I think that when a film is remade, the original is somehow labeled "ideal". Here's what I liked: the updated dance numbers. I might be crazy, but when I watch a musical, I want something fantastical. Shiny and flashy. The original... eh. The remake, yeah! And I liked that one kid actually wanting to kill himself. Much more realistic and teen-y. And Megan Mullally and Kelsey Grammer. Yes.
Here's what I didn't like: the acting. Oh boy. Yeah. Ouch. Not all actors were atrociously, but most of the leads were just not there. And as one critic pointed out: the total lack of drugs and gays. Even the original Fame was more daring than that.
Overall, I think it was meh. The original crammed more character and more story into it, but this was more fun as musical type of film.
Jason Lalljee
Super Reviewer
May 4, 2010
Some may find it boring and flat, but I found it quite sophisticated and entertaining.
Super Reviewer
September 26, 2009
this is probably the worst dancey music film ive seen when comparing it to hairspray or step up, or movies along those lines!
it was boring and just couldnt entertain you enough to care about what was going to happen next!
Super Reviewer
½ June 19, 2010
While it's a well made movie with a pretty good cast it suffers from the same thing the other two Fame stories. We are introduced to some really good characters and then are sped through four years of their lives within an hour and then it's done. Most of the plot lines are glossed over and basic and that's too bad.
Plus it didn't sit well with me that the title song was left for a credits sequence. It felt like they wanted the name but not the song that comes with it.
Super Reviewer
June 12, 2010
"You have talent. Now let's see what we can do with it."

'Fame' is yet another remake of something that I've never seen but as most of you probably know, I hate remakes. But as I have not seen the original movie or series I did not have any expectations. It's a good thing that I didn't have any because this movie falls flat.

Thousands of privileged youngsters try out for a school for artistically talented. Theres dancers, singers, actors and yada yada yada... And something remotelly related to a love story. But was it for the arts or persons?

The major fault in 'Fame' is that it has too many lead characters. I counted maybe seven or eigth. Three or four would've been much easier as the characters get really distant and underdeveloped. Oh yeah, and another major fault is that in its 2 hour long duration, the filmmakers have fitted in 4 whole years of high school! 7-8 persons and 4 years in 2 hours. Not even Scorsese could pull it off...

The acting is mediocre at best and what really amazed me was that Kelsey Grammer was in the movie. Every time I saw him on the screen, it almost looked like if he was punishing himself for participating in the making of the movie. And Megan Mullally from 'Will and Grace'! I almost did not recognize her but she was the only performer that I enjoyed watching.

I really can't recommend 'Fame' to any other than the ones who enjoy any film that is about performing arts. I saw this film as a waste of time even though the performance in the end was quite good. Some talented kids are featured in 'Fame' but because of the sad fact that the movie is a bomb, they'll probably not be remembered at all, as so few people went to see this. I wonder why..?
Super Reviewer
½ May 5, 2010
Surely failed to live up to the original. I did however like it for completely differetn reasons.
Super Reviewer
February 1, 2010
There isn't much to say about Fame. A bunch of kids are at a performing arts school being trained by Lilith, Frasier, and Rock (let's see if you get that last one kids!). Endlessly dull to the point you'll be looking for somehting to fiddle around with at the half way point. Yes, the kids struggle. We know that. It happened in the original. If they really wanted to succeed they would be auditioning on American Idol, not paying Sideshow Bob thousands of dollars to eventually flunk out. Let's put this one to sleep real fast, it's a dose of benadryl on a cold winters day. Thank god for apps...
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2009
â??A musical actually worth watchingâ??

I donâ??t really want to criticize the movie because this movie was more personal to met than actually a review, the movie is really got what its titled and it was a well target to this new generation of musicals, which are crap.

Joel Cranston: You have talent. Now let's see what we can do with it.
Super Reviewer
½ September 28, 2009
Yeah, I saw it. Shut up. It's really just what you want it to be. Musical montages instead of character development. Tried and true cliches (the kid from iowa, the angry kid, the kid whose parents won't let her follow her dreams...) It's much fun to watch Frasier, Lilith and Karen be tough but supportive teachers, though.
Super Reviewer
½ September 25, 2009
I really hate watching Kay Panabaker. Her face just anoys me! lol other than that i was very entertained! I love theater and this movie was just what me and my friends wanted. I kinda wish there would have been more dance seces...the ones that were there were amazing!!
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
½ September 27, 2009
Was there anyone out there clamoring for a remake of the 1980 movie Fame? If so, was there anyone clamoring for a remake that drains all life and intensity and passion from the original, leaving behind a squeaky-clean, shallow, and dumbed down version perfect for teenagers? As we churn through Freshman Year to Senior Year, we will follow scads of teens (played unconvincingly by actors in their 20s) that aren?t worth our time. The movie is overproduced and utterly simplistic. Fame is a genuine waste of most of the talent on screen.

Apologies to the Fame theme song, but I was hard-pressed to remember anybody?s name even minutes after the movie ended. Literally, I was walking back to my car and for the life of me could not remember a single character?s name. This is because the movie crams about a dozen characters and gives little to no time to them for development. We don?t get scenes, more like snippets of scenes, snapshots compressing four years of life, and yet Fame also fails in displaying any maturation during that time period. I understand that the actors have to act like they?re plainly ?acting? at the start, but the script doesn?t focus much on the rigorous training these kids undergo. Somehow in between one of the many fadeouts, the students are just better. Cutting to the chase makes for fine drama, don?t you think? Screenwriter Allison Burnett (Feast of Love) foolishly thought the audience would be more interested in watching the characters in sub-par soap opera dynamics rather than long moments of training talent. Inside the classrooms are expert teachers played by the likes of Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth, Megan Mullally, and the stupendous Charles S. Dutton. We would all have been better served by spending more time at school.

The structure works out to this: small character snippet, then song and dance number, small character snippet, then song and dance number. Repeat. But the movie?s fatal flaw is that it has no showstopper. This is a movie about forging talent, and yet the song-and-dance numbers feel uninspired. They look competently choreographed but there?s little to dazzle because the sequences are few, treated indifferently, and edited within an inch of their lives. We are rarely afforded the luxury of enjoying the dancing. At least the Step Up movies knew that the audience didn?t come for the story. The highpoints for the film include a Halloween party with some impressive stutter-stop gyrations (does the school have a production design class to make all those fancy costumes and sets?) and an improvisational jam in the school cafeteria. One kid lays down a beat, others join in adding texture to the jam session. Though I suppose the aspiring actors are left with little to do. This moment isn?t necessarily fully believable, but it effectively communicates the creative energies that should be coursing through a school dedicated to performing arts.

I don?t care about any of these characters, mainly because these people are one-line descriptions of characters. These are cardboard cut-outs of characters, and they do a disservice to cardboard. Jenny (Kay Panabaker, looking like Ellen Page?s little sister) is the mousy girl-next-door who needs to come out of her shell. On the opposite end, Malik (Collins Pennie) is an angry street kid who needs to tap into his life experiences for acting power (Burnett also has to make sure the ?street kid? character has a deadbeat dad and a little sister who was killed in a driveby shooting). One girl?s entire story is that she wants to be a dancer and wouldn?t mind annoying her stuffy WASP parents. She invites her new Hispanic wannabe DJ boyfriend (Walter Perez) out to dinner. Cut to thirty minutes later ad she?s breaking up with him to tour with a dance company. It?s supposed to be a moment of drama but I defy anyone to care. Why should I care about this relationship or these characters when the movie doesn?t bother to care?

The conflicts are usually contrived (oh no, the girl with the most talent in the rap group is told ? she has the most talent), mostly involving grumpy, disapproving, fabulously wealthy parents. Denise (Naturi Naughton) is given both of these aforementioned conflicts. Her father demands she play piano, but she wants to sing, so how about she can play piano and sing? It hasn?t hurt Alicia Keys. In other instances, the conflict makes the characters annoyingly naďve, like when Jenny goes to the trailer of a sleazy soap actor to record an audition alone. When the characters do get a chance to speak their minds, well, you wish they would go back to dancing or singing. This also has to be the first time that Sesame Street is responsible for a student flunking out (an actor student gets a small-time gig on the long-running educational show and can?t keep her grades up at the same time).

Let?s face it, in the world of performing arts not everyone is on an even playing field of talent. The movie stumbles early during its montage of auditions, which provides some comic relief in watching the hopeless and untalented. Mostly, this audition process is a blur, but Fame loses serious credibility points when it reveals that some of the auditioning students who WERE the comic relief actually were accepted! How does that work? The movie wants me to make fun of a character for being bad and then the next minute the movie tells me that this applicant beat out thousands of other aspiring performers. I?m sorry, but that?s a credibility gap that Fame never recovers from.

For dancers and singers, it?s clear when they have talent, and it?s easy for a film to indulge. But what happens to the actors? Everyone in the movie is already an actor, per se, so when we get treated to supposedly revealing monologues, meant to display great acting talent, it comes across as unremarkable. The only time I have been blown away by a actor auditioning in a movie was when Naomi Watts just became a different person in 2001?s Mullholland Drive. It was sensational the way that she oozed sensuality and took control of her audition scene. Is it too much to ask that the actors who go through four years of intensive work in their chosen discipline be ? better? But my biggest irk was the pseudo-filmmaker (Paul Iacono) who displays no discernable talent. His biggest creative break that we see is taping a drunken student poorly reciting NWA?s ?Boys in the Hood? and then vomiting. But wait; being an auteur, he also uses split screens. I really hate it when movies involve amateur filmmakers because it always goes one of two ways, either 1) the movie overdoes it to the point of parody, or 2) the movie underplays the actual creative work, meaning that there is no foreseeable impression of talent. Why can?t amateur filmmakers ever be authentically good in movies? In Fame?s case, I never saw anything that would justify this kid?s placement at such an esteemed performing arts school; and HE was one of the opening comic relief kids too. Is there a legacy program that they have to adhere to at this school or something?

Now, Fame is rated PG but is it too much to ask for something a little edgier than another sanitized high school musical? For one thing, the movie dances around the subject of its would-be gay ballet dancer (Paul McGill) being gay. It?s implied in mannerism but that?s all the bait you get, folks. Any school that deals in theater, performing arts, dancing, and acting, well let?s just say that there?s more than one token homosexual. The original 1980 Fame dealt with sex, drugs, abortion, and the hardships of pushing your body to the limits for a dream. You don?t ever see these performers sweat. Instead, they sit around and spout bland ?follow your dreams? platitudes.

The best moment in Fame is the end credits, and I don?t mean that to be disingenuous. During the end credits we roll through the various actors and they cut loose, dance, act goofy, and get an opportunity to be silly. And it is in those final moments where these people feel like people, where they have become unrestrained by the director and the screenplay. The movie itself is overly labored without having anything to show for it. The large amount of characters and quick jumps through time make it downright impossible to connect. Worst of all, the signature performance sections are few and lacking true style. This is a derivative, easily forgettable remake that doesn?t even know the right steps to be an entertaining movie.

Nate's Grade: C
Super Reviewer
½ October 12, 2009
OK. Of course it's not good. Actually awful. But does it have to be boring too? Yes, I'm biased. The original was, in my kid eyes at least, perfect. So why go to all the trouble to "reimagine" it and suck out not only the drama but also ALL THE DANG SONGS?!? Oh my freakin' god. The writing is terrible, making these young actors not only look terrible but also raising questions as to how any of them made it past freshman year. The half-star I give it is actually to me for surviving it.
Super Reviewer
½ August 9, 2010
Something big happened to the pop cultural landscape since the first Fame bowed nearly 30 years ago?namely MTV. In a way, MTV?s mainstreaming of the music video format ? juxtaposing lickety split editing and a barrage of different filming styles over pop tunes ? changed all of H?Wood let alone the musical genre. Surprisingly, Fame for the post-MTV Generation does not plug into the knat?s-attention-span histrionics of High School Musical. Rather, it tries to be more pointed as opposed to a disposable-reference-in-waiting like, sadly, its dated predecessor eventually became. This becomes even more surprising when one considers that its director cut his teeth directing MTV programming. Still, for all of this remake?s attention to detail, moviegoers never get fully invested in the characters, which proves problematic for a musical that beseeches us to ?Remember my name.?

In this PG-rated musical, New York City?s High School of Performing Arts students (Naughton, Panabaker, et al) compete to live out their dreams.

Spit valves emptying. Vocal class warm-ups. Drama class exercises. Dotting the movie with these slice-of-performance-life touches certainly endears the work to the audience, especially when the material opens onto the wider fact-of-performance-life spectrum of failed auditions and casting couches. Director Kevin Tancharoen has an attention to detail but oftentimes paints with broad brushstrokes. When ?Sophomore Year? plays across the screen, John Q. Moviegoer already feels like he is getting a 4-year degree through a 10-week correspondence school. Some of the characters seem paper doll-thin but their superb musical performances make a definite connection. For that alone, they deserve more screen time.

Bottom Line: Never learns how to fly?high or otherwise.
Super Reviewer
October 4, 2009
This movie could go both ways: to be rotten or fresh...but the singing performace of Naturi Naughton, the rhytm of the movie and supporting dancers made me enjoy the film. Nothing special but I'll give it a good mark!
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2010
watchable, but the original is way better
Super Reviewer
½ August 19, 2010
You know, I like the whole dancing, choreography, and just plain music. But it simply was short in plot, which should obviously be the most important part of the film per-se. Too many scenes were left incomplete; and alas, the movie itself incomplete.
Super Reviewer
June 20, 2009
A sweet remake that lacks a bit in substance but was a lot more fun and enjoyable without anyone getting roped into a sex tape. Music was still pretty good.
Super Reviewer
½ June 3, 2010
Very predictable, all been done before, but entertaining enough if you like that sort of thing.
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