I need to preface this review by saying that I absolutely, with every fiber of my being, hate, hate, hate the original 1984 film “Footloose.” Along with that I hate country music, the musical adaptation of “Footloose” and I think the idea of a town making dancing illegal is the stupidest plot ever put to paper.
That said, I really enjoyed this film. The remake, of the same name, has everything that the original lacked: charm, comedy and even a couple explosions. The film also included the fresh, and extremely attractive, faces of Kenny Wormald (as Ren McCormack), Miles Teller (as the hilariously goofy Willard) and Julianne Hough (as Ariel Moore).
Now, the story is simple enough: three years prior five kids are killed in a car crash after spending a night drinking and dancing and then going for a drive. In an attempt to keep this from ever happening again Reverend Moore (Dennis Quaid) proposes a curfew, a couple new laws and a ban on public dancing for all minors in Bomont. Then enters Ren (Wormald), the young, hot rebel from Boston who just happens to have a love for dance and a thing for the preacher’s daughter, Ariel (Hough), who also isn’t as innocent as she seems.
The storyline doesn’t leave much for the imagination yet oddly enough it works far better in its modern setting than it did during the ‘80s. The script doesn’t just ignore this fact either. It addresses our generations obsession with the media and technology as well as the vulgarity of music and dancing during a speech given by the Reverend Moore.
The movie also includes the perfect amount of homages to the original film. Revamped versions of numerous numbers from the musical and movie are used throughout the film but are almost unrecognizable unless you look for them. Along with that are the infamous angry dance scene and the unforgettable red suit jacket from the prom scene.
The charm of this film lies heavily on the minor characters in the film. Teller carries the majority of the movie as Willard with his goofball country-boy act. Willard is Ren’s tough talking, all-American, dumb as a post buddy who provides physical comedic relief as well as verbal. When Ren tries to teach Willard how to dance, Teller completely steals the show and captivates the audience for the rest of the film.
The major downfall of “Footloose” has to be it’s leading lady, Julianne Hough. Other than her insanely blue eyes, Hough is nothing but utterly uninteresting. All she does in the movie is wear short-shorts, low-cut blouses and dance skank-ily. Her performance is basic at best and the only scene in which she shows any sign of spark is too short for development of character to take place.
Although the film runs a full twenty minutes too long, has a few too many fist fights and I’ll never understand the logic behind the angry dance scene, this movie holds up well, is far superior to its original and makes for a fun (if not annoyingly catchy) film.
Footloose hits theaters October 14.