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 »
This remake was doomed from the start. The original film is iconic- even those who haven't seen the film know the theme tune. How can you compete with Irene Cara's original version? The r'n'b remix that this new film uses is terrible. But it's not just the title song that this remake has to compete with. The remake cannot free itself from the shadow of the original.
Remaking Fame was not an entirely ridiculous idea. The original was thirty years ago and with the advent of Facebook, YouTube, and all those X-factor type shows, shortcutting your way to fame seems like a real possibility. And the cast actually look like they could be at high school, instead of the original cast that looked like they could have children who were at high school. There was a lot of potential for the director and writer to make a film that didn't try to compete with the original, but was an alternative that could be equally enjoyable.
This film focuses more on dance and music than it does acting (perhaps because the actors can't really act). We get the same types of characters that we got for the original, however in the original these characters didn't come off as stereotypes. They were fleshed out and I was gripped by their problems, which were far darker than this film. As a viewer you actually wanted to make an effort to follow all these different characters in the original. However in this film the characters are so cardboard and the situations so clichéd that it's easy to forget who they are. It makes the lyric in the title song: "baby, remember my name", amusingly ironic. For the time that the characters are on screen, most of them are annoying. The naive/stupid 'plain' girl and her wet boy-band reject love interest are particular standouts in that department.
As in the original, the film marks each year of the characters' time at the school, starting from auditions to graduation, however the time gaps seem to be massive. Random characters and relationships will just come out of nowhere, and so the characters never really progress. Instead it's like amnesia occurs at the end of each year.
You can tell which of the songs are from the original film because the other ones are so bland. There is a nice version of Out Here on My Own, although it doesn't compare with Irene Cara's version either in the musical or dramatic sense. Cara's character (Coco) was the showoff star who was actually more vulnerable than she appeared to be. In the new version, she's a bit of a loner- the equivalent of Bruno in the original.
But what about those who haven't seen the original? You'll probably be even more lost than the ones who've seen the original and know what to expect. Because the film is character-driven, the lack of interesting characters will make the film seem infinitely long. It attempts to be gritty by adding in a few swear words and 'serious' issues but this just makes it worse. If it was really cheesy at least it might have been entertaining.
In short, this film has nothing to say about fame, current or otherwise.
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