Fame (2009) – Movie Review

Fame (2009)

Starring Naturi Naughton, Kay Panabaker, Kelsey Grammer, Megan Mullally, Bebe Neuwirth and Charles S. Dutton

Directed by Kevin Tancharoen

Rated PG-13
Run Time 107 mins
4 frames out of 5
Genre: Musical/ Family/ Comedy/ Romantic/ Drama

Bright lights. The thrill of the stage. The audience waits in the dark abyss. Are you ready for a chance at fame?

Fame is the remake of the 1980’s movie of the same name, which centers on a group of incoming freshman students that are accepted in the prestigious New York school of Performing Arts. All of the students enter with stars in their eyes but quickly learn that dedication and hard work will help them achieve their dreams if they are to make it in the real world.

Starting with the Audition Day, the movie chronicles the intertwining lives of the students and the highs and lows of being in performing arts program in all the various fields; acting, singing, dance, instrumental performance and filmmaking. The journey the director takes the viewer through each of the four years of high school – all of the angst, drama and raging hormones that it entails, with a creative twist.

Jenny, played by Kay Panabaker, is an aspiring actress that has difficulty really letting go and truly being in the moment. She struggles with her classes and gets so frustrated when she works so hard while others like her boyfriend and fellow P.A. student, Marco (Asher Book), things come so naturally. Denise, played by Naturi Naughton, is a classical pianist that wants to branch out with her talents. She does everything her parents tell her to do but she is bored. She wants to enjoy her craft and have fun but isn’t sure where she fits in. Denise finds solace in another troubled student, Malik (Collins Pennie) who awakens a sense of purpose in her life while trying to face his own demons. Alice, played by Kherington Payne, is a talented dancer that is on the fast track to a professional dance company. Victor, an aspiring musician (Walter Perez), is smitten with Alice and uses his talents to woo her.

Rounding out the cast are veteran actors Kelsey Grammer as the classical pianist teacher Joel Cranston; Bebe Neuwirth, as the dance instructor Lynn Kraft; Charles S. Dutton as drama teacher Alvin Dowd; vocal teacher Fran Rowan is played by Megan Mullally and leading the school is Principal Simms played by Debbie Allen.

The remake of Fame is visually energetic, fun and inspiring. Director Kevin Tancharoen did a great job of creating the world of the Performing Arts without it being too campy, preachy or overdone. It is good balance between a musical and dramatic film with a mix of modern day issues. It would be a place that if you were a high school student that you would want to attend.

Things to watch for: Great vocal performances by all, but the real stands out are Naturi Naughton and Asher Book. A lunch hour that seems way cooler than your average cafeteria. All the dance numbers are fantastic that makes you want to get up out f your seat and join in. Fans of NBC comedy sitcoms will see Frasier and Lilith Crane back on screen but unfortunately not together.

Who should see this movie: Patrons of the Arts, Kids, Families and Aspiring Artists.

About Lisa Minzey

Lisa Minzey is Editor in Chief of The Reel Critic.com. She has written for Phoenix Film Foundation, an online contributor for EW.com and is known to write a screenplay or 12. She's worked in Hollywood in various forms, but her first love is writing. She currently resides in Los Angeles.

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