Replete with raging hormones and teenage angst, the 2009 update of 1980’s Oscar-winning film “Fame” portrays the high school experience we all know too well. Emotions are constantly in high gear, as teens battle with their parents and peers over the issues that accompany the coming-of-age experience… only “Fame” attempts to capture the essence of that age whilst costuming its lead characters in tights.
The film’s plot centers upon a group of several students, each with their own separate story, as they progress from audition to graduation through an intense and competitive four years of school. All the usual archetypes are present: There is the shy one, the angry one, the bitchy one and the couple falling in love. So, you have your typical adolescent experience, only with singing, dancing and acting thrown in for good measure. It’s a triple threat, high school style.
So, while this may make for some cringe-worthy scenes, there is also much to appreciate: The beauty of a few of the most talented performers balances out the film’s cheesiest moments. The film is at its best during the performance scenes, where the young talent in the film is showcased. From an improvised performance in the cafeteria to an outstanding rendition of “Out Here on My Own” by leading lady Naturi Naughton, the young stars leave the audience in awe.
The film also benefits from its outstanding cinematography, capturing the performances in a vibrant manner. But while the film is entertaining at times, it lacks the depth and sincerity needed to fully round it out. The script doesn’t allow the audience to become familiar with the character struggles long enough to sympathize, and the jerky cuts in chronology leave the audience often in a state of confusion.
Despite a few narrative mishaps, “Fame” is one of those films that sucks us in. The sparkling talent mixed with the high school drama makes it easy to watch. It is entertaining and enjoyable in a lighthearted way, and although it is sappy, it doesn’t leave the audience feeling completely ripped off.