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With: Naturi Naughton, Kay Panabaker, Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, Kelsey Grammer, Megan Mullally, Bebe Neuwirth, Charles S. Dutton, Kherington Payne, Debbie Allen, Walter Perez, Paul McGill, Paul Iacono, Asher Book, Collins Pennie, Kristy Flores, Cody Longo
Written by: Allison Burnett, based on a screenplay by Christopher Gore
Directed by: Kevin Tancharoen
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic material including teen drinking, a sexual situation and language
Running Time: 107
Date: 09/23/2009

Fame (2009)

1 Star (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In a New York performing arts high school, various teachers (Kelsey Grammer, Megan Mullally, Bebe Neuwirth and Charles S. Dutton) implore their new students to find something personal within themselves and find a truthful way to express it. From there, the movie completely ignores this advice and delivers a truckload of the usual reality TV junk that tweens generally spend their money on. Directed by Kevin Tancharoen -- who, not surprisingly, worked on the "Pussycat Dolls" reality TV show -- the film doles out a bunch of one-dimensional stereotypes and we're expected to find an emotional connection as they wander through four years of school together. Arguably the worst of the lot -- though it's a close call -- is the pop star Asher Book, who sings in a sensitive whine and becomes a creepy, jealous boyfriend to the uptight Jenny (Kay Panabaker). Tancharoen does pump some energy into one or two musical sequences, and to his credit, he does understand how to frame dancers head-to-toe rather than chopping them up into bits and pieces. But in addition to the movie's general awfulness, there's an undercurrent of contempt toward the women characters, all the more disturbing since Fame is going out mainly to pre-teen girls. Debbie Allen, a holdover from the original 1980 film, co-stars as the school's principal. [Please also see my longer review at]

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