REVIEW: Fame

11 02 2010

In “High School Musical,” the students randomly burst out in song and dance numbers whenever they darn well please – and it is just a normal high school. Corny? Obviously. Plausible?  Most definitely not.

So you would think that “Fame,” a high school drama set in an arts conservatory, would seize the opportunity to give us what we so desperately want (at least in the eyes of Disney Channel) and deliver rousing musical numbers because we would actually buy it here.

Wrong.  In fact, “Fame” is hardly a musical at all.  Save for its rocking finale and the titular track, there is barely any music scattered amongst all the cliched teen angst that it forces us to sit through (I don’t count listening to Megan Mullally do “You Took Advantage of Me” at a karaoke bar as a “number,” nor the ten millionth cover of “Someone to Watch Over Me”).  And this is a shame because there really is some talent, particularly from the school songbird played by Naturi Naughton (formerly of the band 3LW, which included two of Disney’s Cheetah Girls).  I own the soundtrack – thankfully I didn’t buy it – and it has 20 songs, and I still find it confounding that music plays such a small part.

As for the movie itself, I could not find even the slightest morsel of care for any of the characters, mainly because I knew their exact trajectory from the moment they stepped on the screen.   It’s the same hackneyed teenage drama that Disney Channel has shoved down our throats for years.  At this point, it has gone far beyond old – it’s offensive.  How many times are they going to produce the same uninspired stories?  Equally as important, how many times are they going to subject us to the frustration of watching the same movie again and again?  Even if there was even the slightest tinge of imagination in the writing, it still would have been a stretch for me to feel anything for the characters because the only one that gets a decent amount of screentime is the lovestruck Jenny (Kay Panabaker, ironically a familiar Disney Channel face).

My parents generation loved the original movie and the TV series that it spawned, but I couldn’t help but wonder as I watched why this needed to be remade.  Why bother to make a musical without music?  Why bother to give us another outlandish chronicle of teenage problems? Why bother to “update” a movie when you have nothing new to offer?  C- /


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