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Footloose - Review


Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

ADMITTEDLY, there’s an overwhelming urge to cut loose and skip this remake of cult ‘80s hit Footloose if nostalgia for the original remains intact. But writer-director Craig (Hustle & Flow) Brewster’s new version somehow manages to win you over by doing exactly what it says on the label.

That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of problems with it but Footloose 2011 is good, cheesy fun that embraces the silliness of the Kevin Bacon original to offer more of the same without too many pretensions.

The plot remains identical as Ren MacCormack (Kenny Wormald) arrives in the small southern town of Bomont from Boston following the death of his mother only to experience a heavy dose of culture shock.

For, a few years prior, the Bomont community was rocked by a tragic accident that killed five teenagers after a night out and Bomont’s local councilmen – led by the Reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) – responded by implementing ordinances that prohibit loud music and dancing.

Ren determines to challenge the ban, however, and finds himself falling for the minister’s troubled daughter, Ariel (Julianne Hough), in the process.

The biggest problem facing Brewster’s remake is the weakness of the premise, which feels even more unlikely and out-dated than it did during the ‘80s.

Wormald, too, lacks the charisma of Bacon, while Hough struggles to convince during some of her more provocative moments.

But if you’re prepared to suspend disbelief and go with the flow, the film entertains in its own way and has enough crowd-pleasing dance sequences to see it through, especially because Brewster has insisted on using the same songs (either in original or cover version form) that left such a lasting impression first time around.

What’s more, there are a couple of nice supporting turns to further engage, most notably from Miles Teller as awkward side-kick Willard (deputising for the late Chris Penn) and from Quaid as the troubled minister, who delivers his scenes with enough conviction to make them resonate.

Footloose won’t convert the sceptics and arguably didn’t need to be re-made quite so soon (if at all) but it’s heart is in the right place and it’s certainly one of the better dance-themed movies of recent years.

It’s fair to say that Zac Efron may even be wishing that he didn’t pull out!

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 113mins
UK Release Date: October 14, 2011