as a kid's movie makes sense. I watched the TV series when I was in grade school, and though today's kids know the franchise only by name, the popularity of American Idol
and So You Think You Can Dance?
make it a logical cash-in. But the new Fame
's adherence to those shows' careerist pursuits rob it of youthful vitality. The in-the-moment thrill of dance performance is replaced with a lot of worry about future success. Director Kevin Tancharoen's handheld television-look sets Fame
apart from the glossy norm of tween movies. But his fragmented narrative of high school kids pursuing their dreams (job security) has just barely more feel and understanding of what it's like to be young than 17 Again
's one unique angle is that the students' power struggle is fought not with each other, but with the grownups (parents, teachers and producers) who hold the key to their freedom. Yet as drama, it reduces experience to standing in front of scripted judges on reality TV.