Footloose is a fun, energetic and sexy remake which successfully remixes its cult classic predecessor to make for an entertaining time at the flicks.
Whether intentional or not, director Craig Brewer has created a must watch trilogy built around music, religion and sex.
Hustle & Flow proved that life was indeed hard for a pimp; Black Snake Moan was a southern fried mix of the blues, God and temptation; and now comes Footloose, a remake of the ‘80s cult phemonenon that starred Kevin Bacon, a catchy theme song and some really bad dancing.
Brewer has gone on record as a fan of the original film, which he does not stray too far from in terms of story and character, with nice homages to the original soundtrack as well.
The plot is essentially the same: After 5 kids are wiped out in a car accident, the shell shocked town of Bomont led by the Reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) outlaw the consumption of alcohol, loud music and public dancing for those under the age of 18. Throwing a kink in the works is the arrival of Boston bad boy Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald), who challenges the law while wooing preacher’s daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough), who has a wild streak of her own.
Both Wormald and Hough are general newcomers to the acting game who bring a vital component: they can dance. While the original Footloose featured dancing which can be considered “of its time”, the dance sequences here are a perfect blend of rugged grit and slick style courtesy of choreographer Jamal Sims.
Important to also remember is that Footloose was just as much a parable about adults letting go of their children, as it was about toe tapping entertainment. This time out Brewer slyly evokes the current religious culture war by having his McCormack as an irreligious kid challenging the authority of an influential pastor. “What ever happened to the separation of Church and state?” is asked at one point.
Yet Brewer is not about knocking religion. In fact it can be seen as quite the opposite, with the censorship at hand the product of overreaction and mistrust, with the bible used as a tool of salvation rather than condemnation.
This Footloose has a little more mind, body, spirit, and attitude which its cast responds to in kind. Wormald is simply a star in the making, with spunk and charisma to burn; Hough is sexy and sassy as innocence gone wild; and Miles Teller follows his dramatic turn in Rabbit Hole with a scene stealing comedic turn as a young buck who can’t dance.
Brewer stays close to the original, but has also created a film with a beat and identity of its own. Older fans will get a dig out of the update, while new fans will have a Footloose of their own.