Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fame - 2 out of 4 Stars

Who Would Love This Movie: Folks who like America's Got Talent-like talent revues

Best Mood to Walk In With: Easily entertained

Don't See This Movie If: You want a musical with a storyline

Fame has no storyline and moderate talent. I say this not because there are no extremely talented characters, but because they are countered by some actors who would have been laughed out of American Idol auditions.

I know musicals are not known for their incredible plots. In fact, most of them are loosely bound by storylines that simply link the songs to each other. However, if shows like Les Miserables and Rent and Wicked are happy exceptions to this rule, then the remake of Fame is a sad exception to the standard. The stories of the characters keep you less interested than an episode of a reality tv show (e.g. The Bachelor or Charm School), so it is the raw talent that you should go see this movie for.

Unfortunately, with the exception of Naturi Naughton, who plays Denise (the pianist singing the song featured in all the ads for this movie), there is little talent to speak of that you wouldn't find at a high school talent show. Specifically Kay Panabaker makes it difficult to even believe her character Jenny could have made it into this school of performing arts, much less succeed at it.

However, two things made this movie enjoyable for me. The first was obviously Naughton who got loud applause from the entire theater after she finished singing her first song. This young lady is talented and I hope to see her in a better vehicle for what she has to offer. The second are the incredible cameos of Megan Mullally, Bebe Neuwirth, Kelsey Grammer, and Charles Dutton as the school's teachers. Without a doubt, these Broadway veterans have talent, and there is a fantastic scene where Megan Mullally belts it. Had there been more of that and less of the students, I would have enjoyed Fame much more.

Feel Free to Go to the Restroom During: The contrived scene where Mr. Dowd asks Malik about his father
Keep Your Eyes Open For: The hilarious audition in the opening montage of the guy doing a Chicago number

All in all, if you're looking for a good musical, rent my favorite movie Meet Me In St. Louis or, if you need a more modern one, Chicago. Fame just isn't going to make the cut.

Movies Are Life. ~ K

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