Fame Kevin Tancharoen

Fame Kevin Tancharoen
While not quite the worst film of the year, this remake of Fame, Alan Parker's musical exploration of teen idealism in a harsh world, comes pretty close. This, strangely enough, is quite the feat for director Kevin Tancharoen, whose prior credits include the Pussycat Dolls reality television series. Like the original, the film follows a group of stereotypes, er, teens, from audition to graduation at the New York Academy of Performing Arts. We have the meek, but driven, Jenny (Kay Panabaker), whose desire for television stardom drives her to the casting couch, along with Denise (Naturi Naughton), the classically trained pianist whose interest in hip-hop stardom enrages her uptight parents, and the schmooze-y, networking, wannabe filmmaker douche, Neil (Paul Iacono), amongst others. Every storyline comes to its inevitable, overly sanitized, conclusion without any particular insight beyond the notion that not everyone makes it big in the arts, which we all knew going in. A rich girl falls for a bad boy; an urban youth whines about his absent father; and a gay emo kid tries to kill himself. There's nothing new here. It's also presented in a washed out, faux-documentary style that harkens back to such gems as Ashlee Simpson's Undiscovered and Hilary Duff's Raise Your Voice. While not as desultory as either, Fame does present itself tangentially, with character developments consisting primarily of rushed, mealy exposition, never quite fitting together. For example, the rich girl/bad boy love story is presented, then ignored for an hour, and then wrapped up with a break-up scene when one of them "makes it." This overall flakiness actually manages to make the original, which was fluffy and insipid, look profound. On the upside, some of the kids are quite talented, as demonstrated in the handful of poorly shot song and dance routines where they dry-hump, leap and twirl. Included with the DVD is the extended version of the film, which is essentially a lot of footage of kids wandering around looking nervous before performances and auditions, along with a handful of supplements on the dance moves and cast. Music videos and a performance from the Fame talent search contest winner are also included. (Fox)