By John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service
Director Kevin Tancharoen's remake of Alan Parker's
1980 film "Fame" (MGM) jettisons most of the elements that rated the
original an "O" classification from the Office for Film and
Broadcasting. But, though the proceedings are tidier, the results are
Dancers are seen in the movie "Fame."
The premise remains the same: an ensemble drama with music
following the ups and downs of a class of gifted students through four
years at a New York City high school for the performing arts, an
institution meant to replicate the real-life academy that currently
goes by the unwieldy name the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of
Music & Art and Performing Arts.
Providing the main romantic angle are shy would-be actress
Jenny (Kay Panabaker) and happy-go-lucky singer Marco (Asher Book), who
build a pleasantly innocent relationship.
Preppy Denise (Naturi Naughton) longs to leave her classical
piano studies behind and take up hip-hop singing, but her uptight dad
(Julius Tennon) will have none of it. Malik (Collins Pennie), a
streetwise aspiring actor-rapper, has to grapple with his equally
clueless mom (Michael Hyatt) who kills his buzz by insisting that he
pursue a more practical career.
Guiding the growth of these artistic sprouts are a group of
dedicated teachers including acting coach Mr. Dowd (Charles S. Dutton),
music instructor Mr. Cranston (Kelsey Grammer) and dance maven Ms.
Kraft (Bebe Neuwirth).
But the sketchy plot only serves to string together the musical
set pieces which see the exuberant students dancing on the lunchroom
tabletops and staging an elaborate Halloween party in costumes
reminiscent of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Among these offerings,
Catholic viewers will particularly appreciate a lively rendition of the
traditional hymn "What an Awesome God We Serve."
The sleekly mounted numbers are enjoyable enough, but anyone
looking for more than a pleasant diversion will likely feel that the
creators of this latest "Fame" fail to earn their diplomas.
The film contains scenes involving suicide, a sexual situation,
underage drinking, at least one use of profanity, a half-dozen crude
and a few crass terms. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting
classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of
America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may
not be suitable for children.
Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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