Critics Consensus

Fame is ultimately undone by its choppy editing, its incomplete characterizations, and its apparent desire to appeal to the High School Musical generation.



Total Count: 121


Audience Score

User Ratings: 194,963
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Fame Photos

Movie Info

A reinvention of the original Oscar (R)-winning hit film, "Fame" follows a talented group of dancers, singers, actors, and artists over four years at the New York City High School of Performing Arts, a diverse, creative powerhouse where students from all walks of life are given a chance to live out their dreams and achieve real and lasting fame...the kind that comes only from talent, dedication, and hard work. In an incredibly competitive atmosphere, plagued by self-doubt, each student's passion will be put to the test. In addition to their artistic goals, they have to deal with everything else that goes along with high school, a tumultuous time full of schoolwork, deep friendships, budding romance, and self-discovery. As each student strives for his or her moment in the spotlight, they'll discover who among them has the innate talent and necessary discipline to succeed. With the love and support of their friends and fellow artists, they'll find out who amongst them will achieve... Fame.

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Debbie Allen
as Principal Simms
Kelsey Grammer
as Martin Cranston
Megan Mullally
as Fran Rowan
Bebe Neuwirth
as Lynn Kraft
Julius Tennon
as Denise's Dad
April Grace
as Denise's Mom
Michael Hyatt
as Malik's Mom
Laura Johnson
as Alice's Mom
James Read
as Alice's Dad
Howard Gutman
as Neil's Dad
Dale Godboldo
as Music Executive
J.T. Horenstein
as Dance Teacher
Stephanie Mace
as Mr. Cranston's Assistant
Patrick Censoplano
as Brooklyn Boy
Marcus Hopson
as Senior Rapper
Tynisha Keli
as Female Singer
Kate Mulligan
as Karaoke Singer
Donnie Smith
as Film Set PA
Earl Carroll
as Camera Shop Clerk
Oren Waters
as Singing Homeless Man
Tim Jo
as Korean Boy
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News & Interviews for Fame

Critic Reviews for Fame

All Critics (121) | Top Critics (35)

  • The high school is so sanitized that there are no drugs, cutthroat competition, or-inconceivably for a theatrical milieu-no gay students.

    Oct 2, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Members of the class of '80 struggled to stay in school despite homelessness and crime; the greatest crisis in '09 finds a student's Sesame Street work schedule affecting her GPA.

    Oct 1, 2009 | Full Review…
  • There are enough hoary soap-operatic plottings for a thousand Gossip Girls (emotionally distant parents, almost-rapes, suicide attempts), yet Tancharoen individualizes each crisis so that no one character comes off as a mock-universal surrogate.

    Sep 30, 2009 | Rating: 3/5

    Keith Uhlich

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • I don't mind the cornball and I don't mind the clichés, but I just think that the thing has to be executed a little better than this.

    Sep 28, 2009
  • It's almost fatally modest. But it has a sweet spirit, and it offers only one true moment of inadvertent camp: a (lame) finale featuring an African dance routine completely at odds with all the white bread we've just been served.

    Sep 25, 2009 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • There are six new songs in the remake, but not one makes any impact, or is likely to end up as the ring tone of 2010.

    Sep 25, 2009 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Fame

  • Dec 02, 2010
    watchable, but the original is way better
    Andreia C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 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.
    Jennifer D Super Reviewer
  • Aug 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.
    Yinalí R Super Reviewer
  • Aug 09, 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.
    Jeff B Super Reviewer

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