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Running Time:
1 hour, 47 minutes

Rating: PG Parental Guidance Suggested.

Rating Explanation:
for thematic material including teen drinking, a sexual situation and language.

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
Despite a sweet spirit, this High School Musical wannabe doesn't even come up to that level.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Includes Both the Theatrical and Extended Edition of Fame; Deleted Scenes; "Fame" Music Video; Remember My Name Character Profiles; Fame National Talent Search Finalists Featurette; The Dancers of Fame Featurette; Closed Caption.

Kay Panabaker ... Jenny Garrison
Walter Perez ... Victor Taveras
Naturi Naughton ... Denise
Asher Book ... Marco
Kherington Payne ... Alice
Collins Pennie ... Malik Washburn
Kristy Flores ... Rosie Martinez
Paul McGill ... Kevin Barrett
Bebe Neuwirth ... Ms. Kraft
Paul Iacono ... Neil Baczynsky
Charles S. Dutton ... Mr. Dowd
Kelsey Grammer ... Mr, Cranston
Megan Mullally ... Ms. Rowan
Debbie Allen ... Ms. Simms

This is a palid reinvention of Alan Parker’s 1980 original, a hit that had a smash title song and also spawned a successful TV series, but this new version is a disappointment. Set at New York City's High School for the Performing Arts which  attracts students from all over the world, the film follows one class’ progress from audition through graduation, concentrating on  just a few of its colorful students.

They include Jenny (Kay Panabaker), a single-minded girl who has to learn to relax; Denise (Naturi Naughton), an aspiring concert pianist who only wants to sing hip-hop, something her stern father adamantly opposes; Joy (Anna Maria Perez de Tagle), whose work on “Sesame Street” endangers her grades; Alice (Kherington Payne), an athletic dancer; Victor (Walter Perez), a would-be record producer; Neil (Paul Iacono), a hopeful film maker; Marco (Asher Book), a good student with an  incredible singing voice; Kevin (Paul McGill), an Iowa boy who wants to go into ballet; and Malik (Collins Pennie), the angrily fatherless kid whose hard-working mother wants him to do something practical and whose rage ends up helping him in acting class. Among the faculty are Principal Simms (Debbie Allen), Mr. Cranston (Kelsey Grammer), the music teacher Ms. Rowan (Megan Mullally), the voice instructor, Ms. Kraft (Bebe Neuwirth), the dancing teacher and Mr. Dowd (Charles S. Dutton), the acting coach.

They have some successes and some heartbreaks, sometimes intermingled. Jenny loosens up and has a romance with the easygoing Marco, but Arthur (Cody Longo), a sleazy ex-student now a television star, comes between them. Neil gets a producer for his first film, but the guy turns out to be a crook. Denise fulfills her musical dreams, overcoming even her father’s opposition, Malik learns to channel his anger into his performances, but Kevin is told his dreams will never come true, and he contemplates suicide.

The screenplay is riddled with clichés from beginning to end, but the musical sequences, capped by the inevitable all-school show at the end, provide some relief from the overstuffed drama. Ultimately Fame, directed by Kevin Tancharoen pales in comparison to Parker’s original, or even Disney's  High School Musical's.
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