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Cut loose with Footloose'

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Remake fun, but flawed

The current Hollywood trend of remaking movies can be frustrating. It seems unlikely that all of the good ideas have been taken; there are still plenty of wonderful, original films coming out all the time. Despite that, studio executives have clearly decided that what people want is what they've had before.

Those sorts of decisions are what result in 'Footloose.'

It's a remake of the quintessentially 80s film of the same name starring Kevin Bacon as a city kid who comes to the sticks with something to prove and John Lithgow as the small-town preacher who blames dancing for all the ills of his town's youth.

This update stars Kenny Wormald ('Center Stage: Turn It Up') as Ren MacCormack, a teenager from Boston who moves to the small town of Bomant, Georgia to live with his aunt and uncle after his mom dies. When he gets there, he finds out that three years earlier, Reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid, 'Soul Surfer') led the city council to outlaw dancing among the town's young people.

Ren also meets Ariel (Julianne Hough, TV's 'Dancing with the Stars'), a wild child who also happens to be the Reverend Moore's daughter and Willard (Miles Teller, 'Rabbit Hole', a good old boy who rapidly becomes his best friend. As Ren learns more about the town and how it works, he decides that these kids need to dance and that he's going to be the one to help them get the chance to do so.

Sound familiar? It should, because it is the exact same movie that you saw in 1984. The actors are different, but the plot remains the same. Even the songs are the same, although the artists performing them have changed. And yet it's kind of OK.

There's nothing original here, but there's an inescapable joy to the proceedings. Wormald was clearly cast as a dancer first and foremost - his acting 'skills' leave a lot to be desired, but the kid sure can move. Ditto Hough - she should probably see if the 'Dancing with the Stars' people will take her back. If this is the kind of performance we can expect of her, she should probably stick to the ballroom.

However, it's not all good dancers with mediocre acting chops. Dennis Quaid is quite good as Reverend Moore. He doesn't quite have the fire that Lithgow brought to the role back in the day, but it hardly matters; even a half-decent actor is going to look like Olivier in this company. Teller is a scene-stealer as Willard. He's goofy and good-natured and genuine - probably the most likable character in the whole town. Ray McKinnon also does a great job as Ren's Uncle Wes.

This is not a great movie. I'm not entirely sure that it's even a good movie. But it is undeniably an entertaining movie. It's filled with homages to the original film - a yellow VW Bug, the red cowboy boots, the maroon dinner jacket - as well as entire scenes seemingly ripped whole from the previous screenplay. Still, it didn't matter. Once the angry young man dance scene in the warehouse started, I was in.

Yeah, that scene is in there. The montage where Ren teaches Willard to dance is there as well. Really, if you have any fond memories at all of the original film, you'll probably have a good time with this one.

It's derivative and trite - borderline cheesy, in fact. So what? That's the lion's share of the appeal of this sort of movie. 'Footloose' is mindless, peppy, poppy fun.

2Popcorn

Last modified on Wednesday, 19 October 2011 13:33

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