Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Original “Fame” lives on, sort of

By Rachel Aylward

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“Fame costs… and right here is where you start paying.” So started the remake of the 1980s musical hit “Fame.” While this movie does have a literal cost, you may find that the price of the ticket is actually worth it after seeing this fun flick. If you are a dancer, singer or musician of any sort, you will be interested in watching this fresh group of talent parade their skills on the big screen.

The movie focuses on several teenagers who attend the New York Academy of Performing Arts and their difficulties with juggling all of their arts classes coupled with a full academic schedule. It takes you step by step through their adolescent lives – audition day, freshman, sophomore, junior and senior year, and a final performance – showing you their successes and their downfalls. They were, “four years of ups and downs, of wonderment and disappointment.”

Living the life of an artist surely does prove to be a game of give and take, which becomes increasingly apparent with the plot’s wavering progression. Even if you are not someone who is connected to the arts, you will undoubtedly still appreciate the earnestness of the characters who, in these short four years, learn their limits and work to exceed them.

Kay Panabaker, noted for her roles in various Disney Channel shows, plays the shy but talented singer Jenny Garrison who has difficulty breaking out of her shell. Jenny’s character is eventually coaxed out by Marco, played by the gorgeous Asher Book. While Asher does have a mystifyingly smooth voice, we aren’t quite ready to say, “move over, Zac Efron,” with this one. His short filmography needs to rack up a few hits before we can go that far. It is true, however, that girls of all ages will be wooed by his adorably key role in this film.

Megan Mullally is also in “Fame,” playing the part of a fun-loving voice teacher by the name of Ms. Fran Rowan. Megan is most well-known for her comical role in the hit TV show “Will & Grace.” She continues to portray a sassy character in the few scenes she acts in Fame. Kelsey Grammar, who has won multiple Emmy nominations, has a cameo role, and also let’s not forget Kherington Payne’s (“So You Think You Can Dance”) portrayal of Alice.

Debbie Allen, who plays Ms. Angela Simms, was actually in the original TV series of “Fame” in the 80s as the main character Lydia Grant. It is a definite treat to witness her revisit this major part of her life.

While the remake may not be as hot as the original “R” rated version, this watered down “PG” movie is still enjoyable and consequently accessible to a wider age demographic. The plot could have been thicker, but then again what did we expect considering that most of what was considered interesting in the first version was too graphic to make the cut for this juvenile remake? A story of artistic development, it is easy to get caught up in the emotions of so many young people trying to come into their own.

Some dropout, some change their course and some make it. In any circumstance, the characters’ minor developments are enjoyable and easy for anyone to follow. As the lovable Neil said of his journey at the Academy, so can the audience agree that “it was everything [they] could ever hope for…end scene!”

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