"The new Fame, like the original" 1980 movie, said Frank Lovece in Newsday.com, "is ethnic and urban." Centering on students at New York's High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, the film's characters "come from barrios, ghettos, upscale historic districts, and working-class neighborhoods alike." The original movie's "Checker cabs" may be gone, "but in the story of talented students and their hopes and dreams, the Fame remains the same."
The updated Fame (watch the trailer) is "a sometimes toe-tapping remake that borrows scenes, situations, and character 'types' from its 1980 original," said Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinel, and the "teachers were cast on the nose"—Kelsey Grammer and Bebe Neuwirth are great. But the new Fame has no "guts," and just feels like a lame attempt to "reprise High School Musical."
"There's nothing subversive or remotely steamy about Fame in 2009," said David Foucher in Edge. The original Fame (watch the trailer) "had the audacity to tackle shocking issues in 1980: abortion, drug abuse, religion, and nudity." The new Fame plays it safe, and as a result it's "a soulless, inconsequential, vapid, hideously boring waste of time."