Footloose comes to us as the third film from Craig Brewer (Hustle and Flow, Black Snake Moan) and is as unnecessary and pointless a movie as you are ever likely to see. That doesn’t necessarily make it abysmal, it just means that whilst watching it I was confused as to why anyone thought that this film was the one that deserved a remake.
After five teenagers from a small Southern town die in a car crash after a night of dancing fuelled debauchery, Rev. Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) takes it upon himself to outlaw such sinful practices. This provides the backdrop for the arrival of big-city Boston boy Ren MacCormack (Kenny Wormald) whose outrageous hair and accent set him at odds with the town’s religious establishment. After several run-ins with the law of the town and with Moore’s wayward daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough) he decides to take it upon himself to fight for the town’s collective right to party.
And apart from some minor changes that is pretty much the plot of the 1984 original as well. Even with all the clumsily forced Apple product placement the movie fails to feel modern or relevant in the slightest. The town that Ren finds himself in could exist anywhere between the 1960s and the present day. I don’t know, maybe all people from the South are all either hilarious rednecks or fiery conservatives but it certainly doesn’t make for convincing characters. Stereotypes abound with Ren’s dumb yet lovable friend Willard (Miles Teller), who seems to be the only young person in this small town who can’t dance and so comes of as some sort of cripple compared to the astounding athleticism displayed by everyone else, and Ariel’s boyfriend Chuck (Patrick John Flueger). All that you need to know about him is that he is a NASCAR-like racing driver called Chuck. You can pretty much fill in the blanks from there.
When the story actually does drag its sorry ass to the dancing scenes (of which there seem to be surprisingly few) they are, as dancing scenes go, fairly well done. Same goes for the preposterous bus racing scene or any scene where the rednecks try and start a fight. It’s just that when it’s all put together it doesn’t really amount to much. The worst thing that can be said about it is that it’s dull, and in a movie that’s all about the joys of having fun that’s not exactly a plus.
Director: Craig Brewer
Starring: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid