Rental Review – Fame

2009’s Fame may hit on some of the best parts of the entertainment industry with performances of music and dance, but all of this being crammed into one film leaves little room for an actual film to really form.

The New York Academy of Performing Arts is apparently the place to be for upcoming, high school aged artists of all types.  Auditions are brutal, classes are challenging, and you have to be just as studious as you are talented.  This film follows a group of kids who are lucky enough to be accepted into the school during the four years of their lives spent fine-tuning what they do best.

With the massive popularity of singing and dancing on TV and in films today, Fame is not the film that is going to shine above the rest as something truly memorable. Following a few of the overused, “fun” staples of similar films, such as the audition process mixing in the talented and the (attempted) comical performances of the less talented, as well as the random foodless cafeteria scene where everyone bonds through a “spontaneous” talent show, the film quickly disintegrates into something far less cohesive.  Because of this, I am going to make two suggestions as to what would have made this better:

  1. Pick a smaller group of characters to follow.  Fame fails at being character driven because there are far too many students with stories to tell, and not enough time to tell them, making it completely impossible to get invested in any of them.
  2. Have the film take place over a smaller amount of time, such as just Freshman Year.  This film is less than 2 hours long, with a lot of the time being devoted to music numbers and dance scenes instead of the characters themselves as they progress through the four years of their high school experience.  With little time for their stories, there is no sense of progression because all the audience gets to witness are the most heightened moments for these individuals, making everything seem so overdramatic more often than not, fully deserving of an equally overdramatic eye roll.

Though a lot of the performances in the film are pretty entertaining to watch thanks to the talents of the people cast, Fame blends these random performance pieces in with a laughable excuse of a story, creating a more than lackluster film.  Let me put it this way: most of the dance pieces on So You Think You Can Dance are able to express a far greater story than this film is capable of doing, and looks far better in doing so.

Final Grade: C-