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Footloose (2011) - Movie Review

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Footloose

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3 Stars

Sporting the same rebellious spirit as the 1984 original, but with a rejuvenated vision, Footloose revisits the small southern town where loud music and dancing are banned to protect the innocent. This time though with Craig Brewer at the helm doing just enough to keep the remake naysayers at bay... for now. Though his film stumbles at times (most noticeably in the warehouse angry-dance scene which Herbert Ross didn’t get right in the original either), Brewer, yet again, shows he has full command of his creative skills and knows how to make a film relevant to his audience. And who knew this guy had such a sense of how to film a dance sequence? Ooo wee Marie!

In the same iconic yellow VW Beetle and skinny tie, city boy Ren McCormick (Kenny Wormald) rides into Bomont (pardon the flagrant allusions to the homophonic Texas city), having come from Boston to the small town to live with his aunt and uncle after losing his mother to cancer. No sooner does Ren arrive than he gets a ticket for playing his radio too loud (been updated to an iPod) and finds himself up against school authorities that mistake protecting the town’s youth with wanting to make them conform to old-fashioned adult ideals. We all know how well that doesn’t work out.

Brewer, who also co-wrote the script with original Footloose writer Dean Pitchford, shifts the emphasis of the modernized version to the adults in the town, namely Rev. Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid), and his wife (Andie McDowell) who lost a son in a tragic accident that also took the lives of four town youth. Brewer tells more of Bomont’s tragic backstory - specifically the accident that shook the town to the core - and in doing so, sheds some light on the point of view of the parents and brings audiences inside the emotional state of mind of the clamped-down community. Great idea and it adds a bit of relevance sorely missing from the original.

As the reverend’s rebellious daughter and Ren’s love interest is Ariel, played by triple threat actor/singer/dancer Julianne Hough, whose two-time Dancing With the Stars winner skills are put to maximum use. She shows some great screen presence as well, and is certainly easy to look at. The screen comes alive as she cuts loose in those memorable red cowboy boots. Newcomer Hough will likely go on to bigger and better things as she displays that intangible quality present in many who’ve made it big in show business. She also won’t be hurt by the fact that she bears a striking resemblance to a cross between Jennifer Aniston and Priscilla Presley. And did I mention the girl can dance. Whoa, Milo c'mon, c'mon let's go.

There’s no denying the casting problems that plagued the film in its early days, but there’s little left of anything those troubles may have caused. The supporting cast builds a strong foundation upon which the main players give it their go. Replacing Chris Penn’s goofy kid who can’t dance is Ren’s newfound friend Willard (Miles Teller) who, by the time it’s all said and done, can cut loose with the best of them. He shows something refreshingly different than his role in last year’s Rabbit Hole. Ray McKinnon is under-used but makes hay with every minute of screen time as Ren’s uncle.

Footloose is highly likely to catch some fairly significant traction with audiences as Brewer has clearly found a way to touch the hearts of two completely different demographics. Boomers will find loads of delight in Brewer’s love letter to the original, including the rousing prom scene dance number in which everyone kick’s off their Sunday shoes to Kenny Loggins’ classic titular number. Young females will be fascinated as well, finding a fairy-tale comfort in the story of two young lovers fighting the system to be together at last.

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Footloose - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for some teen drug and alcohol use, sexual content, violence and language.
Director
: Craig Brewer
Writer
: Craig Brewer and Dean Pitchford
Cast:
Kenny Wormald; Julianne Hough; Dennis Quaid; Andie McDowell; Miles Teller
Genre: Comedy | Drama | Musical
Tagline:
There comes a time to cut loose.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I don't care what the rap music people say, marijuana is wrong."
Distributor:
Paramount Pictures
Official Site:
www.footloosemovie.com/en_us
Release Date: October 14, 2011
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 6, 2012

Synopsis: Writer/Director Craig Brewer (“Hustle & Flow,” “Black Snake Moan”) delivers a new take of the beloved 1984 classic film, “Footloose.” 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.

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