The new remake of Fame will appeal to pre-teens who hope to go to performing arts schools, but who -- implausibly -- have never seen any other movies, or plays, or dance performances or music recitals. Moreover, they must not yet possess the ability to tell good performance from bad, nor truly inspired plot twists from hackneyed ones. Parents, on the other hand, will find that the movie sucks their will to live. It begins with the typical audition sequence, in which thousands of hopefuls show off their talents in front of grim-faced teachers. Whether or not the kids are talented makes no difference; some of the worst performers incredibly make the final cut, and even the best performers chosen aren't about to set the world on fire.
Following that, we meet our instructors, most of them played by talented, slumming actors. Kelsey Grammer plays the music teacher, Megan Mullally teaches singing, Bebe Neuwirth teaches dance and Charles S. Dutton teaches acting. (Debbie Allen, a holdover from the 1980 film, plays the principal.) Each of the teachers tries to impart the concept that each performer needs to find his or her own personality, find out what he or she wants to say, and then find a way to convey that, honestly, through their craft. The movie then completely ignores this advice and gives us a truckload of the usual mainstream, reality TV junk that sells. For example, from the dance class, rather than a ballet ("boorr-ing"), we get a rendition of some rejected "Pussycat Dolls" number, complete with skimpy stockings and strutting. (Not surprisingly, "director" Kevin Tancharoen worked on the "Pussycat Dolls" reality TV show.)