Mr. Cranston asks Denise to be the accompanist for the school's upcoming production of "Chicago". In the year 2009, this would not be possible since the licensing company which handles the theatrical rights for "Chicago" was restricting the show from being produced (even by amateur groups and schools) anywhere in the greater New York area while there was an open-ended Broadway production still running. See more »
Go in expecting a collection of enthralling dance numbers and you will be walking out a satisfied customer
Kevin Tancharoen's rambunctious first feature film (after directing a series of music TV shows like "The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll") isn't as mawkish or amateur as you may expect. He may not have Martin Scorsese or Steven Spielberg looking over their shoulders, but Tancharoen clearly knows how to shoot a dance sequence. Thankfully he understands what the audience want from a movie like this and it isn't lengthy conversations or scenes to showcase the young stars' acting chops, we want exceptional dancing mixed with an ear-pleasing soundtrack. From that standpoint this first-timer delivers.
We meet the characters during the introduction as they audition for a spot in the highly sought-after academy, each one of them showing their obvious skills over a well crafted montage that establishes the tone for the rest of the movie. From there we go from one rhythmic set piece to another, of varying enjoyment levels, with the absolute highlight coming from a Halloween party boogie at the halfway point. The gigantic finale goes for broke however doesn't quite reach the heights it should. Also worth noting is Tancharoen's ability to ensure non-dance enthusiasts (like myself) will be entertained no matter what art form is on display; those who think they could never take pleasure in ballet just try and not be entranced with the routine led by the lithe Kherington Payne in the second half.
Every film needs a plot and character arcs mind you and this is where Fame's failings become quite evident. The massive ensemble cast is simply too big; trying to follow the amount of individuals on offer is often frustrating. When you start to like someone they disappear for 30 minutes whilst we see the other dozen or so stories unfold, and only randomly do they intersect each other. Of the young cast Kay Panabaker, Asher Brook and Paul Iacono are the pick whilst the wise and wonderful teachers are best served by Bebe Neuwirth and Charles S. Dutton.
So how much is the final result affected by the hit-and-miss acting (the romantic scenes between the teens are excruciating), unfocused screenplay and ridiculous reasons to break out in song and dance? Not all that much to be honest. A film that can be this fun to watch doesn't deserve to be hung up on faulting elements such as these. Go in expecting a collection of enthralling dance numbers and you will be walking out a satisfied customer.
3.5 out of 5 (1 - Rubbish, 2 - Ordinary, 3 - Good, 4 - Excellent, 5 - Classic)
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