So did Rama put on his dancing shoes after he saw Footloose? Read his review to find out. Make sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
It’s been years since the last time I watched the Kevin Bacon version, I remember I wasn’t too crazy about it but I also remember enough to be able to tell that FOOTLOOSE remake tries its best to stay as faithful as possible. So that is something to appreciate about this new take. The dances and some of the song selections are obviously updated.
Despite its many flaws, for a remake, FOOTLOOSE is not as bad as I thought it was going to be.
Humor is its biggest strength. If there’s an Oscar for best comic relief of the year, it would go to actor Miles Teller.
I think today’s generation will dance to the beat and the spirit of this movie just fine..
In the remake of the 1984 film, Ren MacCormack
(played by newcomer Kenny Wormald) is transplanted from Boston to the small southern town of Bomont where he experiences a heavy dose of culture shock. A few years prior, the community was rocked by a tragic accident that killed five teenagers after a night out and
Bomont’s local councilmen and the beloved Reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) responded by implementing ordinances that prohibit loud music and dancing. Not one to bow to the status quo, Ren challenges the ban, revitalizing the town and falling in love with the
minister’s troubled daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough) in the process.
Kevin Bacon has that persona where he’s so cool even when he does cheesy stuff, because he’s Kevin freakin’ Bacon! So the newcomer Kenny Wormald who plays the new Ren, doesn’t really have that same charm. He has the moves, no doubt, but he’s no Bacon.
I really can’t take Kenny seriously when he does the speech in that town meeting scene.
In fact, I think the acting this movie is generally quite laughable, which I expect from any movie about dancing. But hey, at least it’s not one of those Step Up kind, where it’s only about a group competing with other groups for grand prize money so they could keep their home.
And I gotta hand it to the key cast, even though they’re in their mid 20s, Kenny, Julianne, and the gang look more believable as youngsters than Bacon and Singer did. Dennis Quaid can’t quite capture the same anger and intimidation that John Lithgow unleashed, Quaid has a slightly different approach to his character and it’s mainly because this remake has a slightly different approach as well.
When Craig Brewer took this job, I was surprised because I was a fan of Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan, and I thought Brewer only liked gritty Southern stories. But when I saw FOOTLOOSE remake, I got what he was going for. A few filmmakers out there truly, and I mean truly understand the south and Brewer is one of them.
He did the rewrite and his contributions are evident throughout this movie. The jokes that have to do with the Southern culture, the slang, the mindset, the habits, how other folks quickly judge and think that the South is incapable of progress, those elements and more exist in the movie much thanks to Brewer.
And since the town is bound by tragedy, Kenny’s character Ren needs to be able to relate to that loss in his own way, which helps the audience to also know where Quaid’s character, the preacher, is coming from, because he’s not a straight up typical villain, and he doesn’t stay angry in the end either, he’s just an overprotective father who doesn’t want to lose another child, just like his daughter, he doesn’t really know how to deal with his grief.
A father just doing his job as a father, teens just wanting to be teens. Brewer’s approach makes perfect sense.
The dance choreography is pretty fun to watch and it’s not annoying, it’s not a show-off contest. Definitely more heated and intimate than the original. As I said earlier, actor Miles Teller does a bang up job as the best friend/comic relief, that young man has found his field of expertise.
If you put this whole comparison out of the way, you may find that FOOTLOOSE remake able to stand on its own merit. If you ask today’s young audience, I’m sure almost all of them have never seen the 80s version anyway so in that sense, this is a decent fresh start.
GRADE: 3 out of 5
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