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Fame

You know you’re getting old when they remake a film you remember from nearly thirty years ago.  Although this Fame is less a remake than a re-interpretation of an idea.  In many ways its timely release is more potent as today’s society is much more savvy in the workings of desired notoriety.  Linking the two is the dedication of its students and the guidance of the teachers in shaping burgeoning talent.
The New York City High School of Performing Arts trains a wide range of gifted students.  Among them are Denise, Malik, Jenny & Marco whose struggles and triumphs are chartered over a four year period.  Helping them achieve their ambitions are teachers Joel (Kelsey Grammer), Alvin (Charles S. Dutton) and Principal Angela Simms (Debbie Allen) who work hard in ensuring their eventual graduation leads to a road of continued professional success.
Minus some crimes of fashion and Irene Cara’s legendary theme tune there could be a perception that Fame hasn’t much going for it.  That would be a bit harsh as, although indulging in some obvious clichés, this version still has something to say.  In searching for the potential of each student, the relationship between teacher and pupil becomes an important factor in their development.  The ability to trust and believing in your talents is paramount, with Fame thankfully unafraid in showing the harsh reality of rejection.  This aspect makes it watchable with some reasonable acting by the mostly unknown cast.
Although the musical numbers are well staged, Fame suffers from a dearth of characters.  There are too many vying for attention that not enough time is spent nurturing their various traits.  This gives a dis-jointed feel with various sub-plots never fully reaching fruition.  Some fare better than others with this lack of focus detracting from its easily adaptable concept.  Generally there is more to like than not and it at least differentiates itself from its predecessor to allow proceedings to stand on its own.  
Those hoping to revive memories of Fame’s former lives in film and TV may be surprised by this new version.  Others should receive something from this as today’s singing and dancing recruits on various reality shows give this a more opportune spin where each make their fifteen minutes count.
Rating out of 10:  5

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