By John Anderson
By Nick Schager
By Anna Dimond
By Chris Klimek
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Ciara LaVelle
By Scott Foundas
Gone are Leroys cornrows, short-shorts, and leg warmers: The anodyne adolescents in 25-year-old Kevin Tancharoens directorial debut (written by Allison Burnett) suggest not the charismatic, street-smart pupils at Performing Arts, but the Up with People squares.
Like all good drama queens, the students in Alan Parkers 1980 original FameTV show take up space (blocking traffic on West 46th Street) and disrespect authority (dropping f-bombs in class, smashing school property) They also do drugs, have sex (and abortions, if necessary), and stay up past midnight.
The new class at P.A. is strictly PG, sharing a chummy coffee with the vocal instructor (Megan Mullally) who takes them on a karaoke field trip to Lucky Chengs, where not one drag queen is visible. Though his gayness was awkwardly shoehorned in, carrot-topped Montgomery was at least undeniably out in Parkers film. His closest analoguemany of the kids in the remake are race and/or gender inversions of the original charactersmerely alludes to homo-leanings through emo, Efron-esque bangs and a slightly swish carriage.
Members of the class of 80 struggled to stay in school despite homelessness and crime; the greatest crisis in 09 finds a students Sesame Street work-schedule affecting her GPA. The sanitized moppets in the new Fame sing the body generic.
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