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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Fame




Starring:
Kay Panabaker (Happy Campers)
Naturi Naughton (Notorious)
Kherington Payne ("So You Think You Can Dance")
Megan Mullally ("In the Motherhood")
Debbie Allen (Next Day Air)
Asher Book (Eight One Eight)
Walter Perez (Coup de Grace)
Charles S. Dutton (The Express)
Kelsey Grammer ("Hank")
Collins Pennie (Fired Up!)
Anna Maria Perez de Tagle ("Hannah Montana")
Paul McGill (Man on Wire)

Directed by:


Written by:
Allison Burnett (Untraceable)


If you are old enough to remember Alan Parker’s 1980 version of Fame then seeing what director Kevin Tancharoen calls his “re-imagined tribute” to the original will probably feel less like an homage than a grave-robbing because this Fame is one lame shame. I’m sorry, Kiddos, but it is just the plain cold truth, and it hurts me to say so. You have no idea how much I wanted to love this movie. I was actually looking forward to this version of Fame coming out because I had high hopes that it would recapture the magic of that fragile coming-of-age film set within the walls of the prestigious School of the Performing Arts in New York City. Unfortunately, inspired by the blandness of the High School Musical series, any semblance of reality has been sanitized into oblivion.  None of these kids swear, do drugs, smoke, drink, carry guns, or live in abject poverty. Unlike in the original, nobody frets about an unwanted pregnancy or (God forbid!) actually gets an abortion. The sexual orientation question is also taboo even though coming out was a big deal for one of the kids in 1980’s Fame. Apparently these days no gay people dance, sing or act. The arts have butched up considerably in the past 29 years.


Unlike the Parker film, this Fame is packed with well-known stars as faculty members, but the students are all unknowns, and with one notable exception will probably remain that way. Naturi Naughton rocks as the classical pianist who longs to sing hip hop despite her daddy’s stern objections. I know, it’s not much of a plotline, but Naughton proves she can act, sing, and look pretty all at the same time. In other words, she is the female Zac Efron in this movie. Well, Zac Efron is really the female Zac Efron, but you get the idea. The rest of the kids looking to “live forever” probably will have to settle on doing so in SyFy or Lifetime channel movies, and the way the networks rerun those stinkers over and over again they really will live forever or at least it will seem that way. I guess it’s something.

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