Review: Footloose

Craig Brewer’s update of the 1984 classic, Footloose, follows the story of high school student Ren (Kenny Wormald) as he moves from Boston, to live with family in the small town of Bomont after the death of his mother. He soon learns that the town has banned dancing after the death of several young students returning from a dance and sets out to change this.

Remaking a film that’s regarded as a classic is always going to be a challenge for any director, so it’s no shock that Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) turned the job down twice before eventually accepting. However, Brewer does a surprisingly good job, showing a clear passion and respect for the original. The dance sequences are well choreographed and directed, fusing elements of hip-hop, freestyle and modern country line-dance into the film. However, Brewer sticks fairly close to original script and these dance sequences never dominate the film. There’s some entertaining recreations of iconic moments from Herbert Ross’ original and updates of some of the moments that haven’t aged so well (mainly the original’s fairly embarrassing tractor duel, which has now been updated to a dirt track bus race).

Several of the tracks from the original film are featured such as Kenny Loggin’s iconic Footloose and Deniece William’s Let’s Hear It For The Boy. These tracks are also given respective updates from country stars Blake Shelton and Jana Kramer, although these are both entertaining, it’s hard not to feel a slight buzz when the originals kick in. There’s also a couple of original tracks including Fake ID from country duo, Big and Rich which is possibly the standout track of the film.

The cast of the update also face the challenge of fitting into these iconic roles, but in my opinion all do particularly well. The Kevin Bacon role has now been passed down to handsome young star, Kenny Wormald who shows himself to be a technically excellent dancer as well as an extremely talented actor. He is supported by the stunning blue-eyed dancer/singer, Julianne Hough. Hough brings a sense of likeability and rebelliousness to the role of the preacher’s daughter, putting in a very memorable performance. Co-stars Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell fall into their roles with ease, but the latter feels very underused.

Whilst I’m normally against remakes, Footloose proved to be a refreshing and entertaining update of the slightly dated original. Die hard fans of the 1984 version may be less impressed but in my opinion it’s one of the strongest feel good pictures of the year, and a personal guilty pleasure.

Rating: 4/5

[Originally posted on Silver Screen Slags]

Reviewer: Andrew McArthur
Rating: 12A (UK)
Release Date: 14/10/2011
Director: Craig Brewer
Cast: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Andie MacDowell and Dennis Quaid

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