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Fame | 2009 | PG | - 4.2.4

This remake of the 1980 film and subsequent TV series follows the stories of victory and sorrow in the lives of a group of teens who hope to eventually star on Broadway and television. The principal (Debbie Allen) of the New York City High School for the Performing Arts provides a guiding hand with the help of teachers (Kelsey Grammer and Bebe Neuwirth) while competition is keen in both the arts and love. Also with Megan Mullally, Charles S. Dutton, Paul Iacono, Naturi Naughton, Kherington Payne, Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, Paul McGill, Asher Book and Kristy Flores. Directed by Kevin Tancharoen. [1:47]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - In a movie set trailer a man kisses a teen girl several times, he lays her down on a couch, and she beats him away with her fists and leaves the trailer; the man had filmed the encounter and admitted to the girl that he had been offered a film audition in order to seduce her. Several brief kisses are shown between teen couples.
 A teen girl invites her boyfriend to her dad's empty apartment. A teen boy performs a song and dance number usually performed by a woman, to "All that Jazz." A teen boy films a girl while he says, "Let's try to seduce" and she hands a hot dog to another teen boy.
 Two teen boys stare briefly at a teen girl, who is writhing in a sensual dance routine, wearing tights and a long-sleeved leotard. Dance movements in several scenes are sexually suggestive and include pelvic thrusts and groin grabbing. A dance number features four teen girls in black dance panties, high heels, and sleeveless tops (we see the bottom of buttocks) and the dance moves include pelvic thrusts and grinding. Several scenes feature teen girls in leotards, tights, short shorts, micro mini skirts, sleeveless blouses, bikini tops and backless tank tops while performing dance routines and they reveal moderate cleavage, bare midriffs, bottom of buttocks, legs and backs. A middle-aged woman is shown wearing a black leotard and the material is stretched so that we see the outline of her buttocks. One dance scene shows dancers performing an African dance with teen girls wearing bikini tops and bare-chested teen boys in loincloth like shorts. In three party scenes, several teen girls wear scoop neck tops that reveal slight cleavage.
 Song lyrics speak of prostitutes on the street twice.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 2 - A teen boy becomes depressed when he learns he cannot earn a living as a dancer and stands at the very edge of a subway platform as a train approaches; two teen girls shout and pull him back.
 A teacher pounds the top of an upright piano loudly to get the attention of a student playing it and they argue briefly. Several scenes show arguments between a teen boy or girl and a parent, all shouting about the uselessness or value of acting and the performing arts. Several scenes feature brief arguments between teachers and students or between students about dance techniques. Several theatrical recitations feature either a teen boy or girl shouting, crying, or pounding on a wall.
 A Halloween dance party scene features dancers in Mardi Gras costumes with horns, grimacing masks, a demon, an angel, circus clowns, monsters and strobe lights.
 A teen boy describes a drive-by shooting that killed his little sister, and shows a tattoo on his bicep that honors her. Song lyrics refer to murder by gunfire: One line says, "See a dead body, you want to keep running." Several dance numbers feature loud tap dancing, African drums, loud jazz music and other loud performances.
 A teen girl gets sick from drinking alcohol on a park bench, runs off screen and we hear vomiting noises. A teen boy spits on a stage floor and rubs the sole of his shoe in it. In a meat market, a butcher picks up a raw beef loin from a cooler and carries it to a meat case (we see bones and red meat of the loin briefly). A teen boy does a tap dance number over lunch tables, spilling food and turning over tables.


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LANGUAGE 4 - 9 scatological references, 3 anatomical references, 11 mild obscenities, name-calling (cowards, trash, mess, dummy, chick, honky-tonk, stuffy, whore, wasted), stereotypical comments about actors, hip hop and rap stars, teens, parents, women, classical composers, modern composers, Germans, Blacks and whites, 4 religious profanities, 18 religious exclamations.


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SUBSTANCE USE - Song lyrics speak of crack cocaine four times. Teen boys and girls drink beer in three party scenes, we see adults and teens drinking cocktails and beer, many tables include full wine glasses and bottles of wine in a restaurant scene, a teen boy films a teen girl drinking alcohol from a bottle in a brown paper bag, she falls off a park bench, stands on the bench, pours out the alcohol and the scene ends, a man takes two bottles of beer from a refrigerator, drinks from one and hands the other to a teen girl (she does not drink), and two teen boys talk about drinking shots of liquor at a party. A trailer shows a scene not included in the film, with an apparently inebriated teen. A teen boy puts a cigarette to his mouth but does not smoke.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - High school, social roles of teachers, performing for a living, religion in music, sensual dance, ambition, hard work, rivalries, relationships, friendships, failure, success, choices.

MESSAGE - Fame is expensive.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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