Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Craig Brewer
Stars: Kenny Wormald, Miles Teller, Dennis Quaid, Julianne Hough, Andie MacDowell.
This is one remake that actually is quite good.
Dean Pritchford, who wrote the original Footloose in 1984, has tweaked his original script and made it contemporary and relevant for today’s audiences. Although Pritchford has beefed up some subplots, the story remains faithful to the original. The film retains its themes of small town morals, teen rebellion, grief, religion versus state. Cowriter/director Craig Brewer (Black Snake Moan, Hustle And Flow, etc) explores more serious and darker undertones here, and he also goes into greater depth with some of the secondary characters.
Ren McCormack (played by newcomer (Kenny Wormald, taking on Kevin Bacon’s iconic role) comes to the small town of Bomont to live with his aunt and uncle. Ren soon learns that town ordnances have put a curfew on teens, banned loud rock music and public displays of lewd and lascivious dancing. The ban was introduced by the town council following the death of five high school seniors in a car accident three years earlier. One of those killed was the son of local firebrand preacher Reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid), who was instrumental in pushing for the ban. Ren develops a reputation as a rebel as he tries to defy the ban. He also falls for the preacher’s rebellious and deeply troubled daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough).
This new version of Footloose retains some of the songs from the original, albeit in new versions, including Kenny Loggins’s infectious theme song.
Quaid is good as the hard line minister who doesn’t really understand the needs of modern youths, and he brings authority, gravitas and compassion to his performance. Andie MacDowell, wasted in a thankless role as a mother in the recent Monte Carlo, is given more to do here as Ariel’s mother. And Wormald, who is a dancer in real life, is actually very good as Ren. It remains to be seen whether this film will do for him what it did for Bacon; and whether Wormald will get his own Internet naming game! In the Chris Penn role as Ren’s redneck pal Willard, Miles Teller (from Rabbit Hole, etc) brings plenty of charisma, charm and humour to his performance.