The only real reason to pay any attention at all to the new Footloose
is to watch the music video for the terrific Big and Rich song "Fake
ID." Other than that, there is little appeal in the film, as it
shamelessly recycles almost every scene, event, and line from its
original counterpart, and the ones it doesn't, it modifies for an
audience that is questionably existent. If there's anything the film
made me do, it made me seriously contemplate what a "remake" actually
is and what their inherent goal is. To make the original material
better? Make the story more current? Give it a stronger, more
contemporary feel and look? If those questions were considered during
the making of the Footloose remake, they weren't considered for very
long. This is a stale, unimaginably boring picture, with its first real
problem being it is trying to make an immensely dated story of music
and dancing banishment current and relatable to teenagers of the
present. In a time where vulgar rap by artists named "Chief Keef,"
"Juicy J," and "Wiz Khalifa" can be found on the iPods of teens in
schools and they can get away with it, I highly doubt teens will be
able to resonate with playing Kenny Loggins or Quiet Riot a bit too
The original Footloose at least had the benefit of being a film with a
contemporary issue to its time and the appeal of its lead, Kevin Bacon.
Granted watching it now is like dusting off a C-grade vinyl that barely
functions, it at least had the ability to give the student body a voice
and a personality as they tried to keep their freedom to play rock
music (please say this out loud) alive and well. The new Footloose,
however, is like that guy randomly wearing acid-washed jeans in public
in 2013; random, out of place, and questionable beyond belief.
The story hasn't changed at all; we center our sites on the small town
of Bomont, Georgia, that has been musically silenced since reverend
Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) pressured the city council to ban music and
dancing after loud music "resulted" in the deaths of five teenagers
driving late at night. I say "resulted" because the cause of death was
more of teenage stupidity. The pop music blaring on the radio at the
time had little effect.
Ten years after this horrendous legislation, Bostonian teenager Ren
McCormack (Kenny Wormald) waltzes into town and experiences a culture
shock when he realizes that, hey, not only do people who live in other
towns have different lifestyles than himself, but music is frowned upon
in this tight-nit community. However, that doesn't stop Moore's
rebellious daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough), who can often be found
batting her bubbly blue eyes and shaking her bouncy backside in no mans
land areas deep in the outskirts of town along with dozens of other
Right off the bat, Moore isn't fond of the way Ren behaves. His
attitude is smarmy and purposefully instigating, and the thought that
he is a teen with something to say unnerves him greatly. The remainder
of the film amplifies this conflict between them, as well as trying to
make a bold statement that teenagers are supposed to be reckless, dumb,
and the driving force behind many mistakes.
This conflict between Ren and "the man" leads all the way to the city
council, where Ren tries to use Bible verses to sway the entire council
(including Moore) to allow music and public dancing to be etched back
in Bomont's society. He states that people in biblical times danced for
God and Jesus, leaping and ecstatically celebrating them with the art
of movement. Okay. I'm sure when Ariel is gyrating and shaking her
blue-jean short-shorts in front of every guy in a vacant field she
definitely has our lord and savior in mind. Same with Ren; I'm sure
when he got down in the crowded saloon for line dancing or when him and
several others fight the gang of bullies during a school dance at the
end of the film, they all had God and Jesus in their hearts and minds.
You couldn't fool a maroon with your logic.
Director Craig Brewer (Black Snake Moan and Hustle and Flow - two films
that wouldn't even be on the same shelf as Footloose in ANY category,
list, arrangement, etc) doesn't even offer any pleasing attributes to
this film stylistically, albeit some good choreography. Other than
maybe a few good scenes involving a large production number and several
dozen dancers, the film's redone music, contemporary atmosphere,
updated production, and caricature-driven cast seems like an act of
indolence, if anything. I had a hard time admiring the original
Footloose, but credited it for being something of a time-staple, even
if it doesn't hold up well in present time. It's hard to credit the new
Footloose at all, since its very existence is perplexing.
Starring: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Andie MacDowell, and Dennis
Quaid. Directed by: Craig Brewer.