Reel Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some teen drug and alcohol use, sexual content, violence and language.
Released in Theaters: Oct. 14, 2011
Genre: Drama, Teen, Musical, Remake
Runtime: 113 minutes
Directed by: Craig Brewer
Cast: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid, Miles Teller, Andie MacDowell
Official Site: http://www.footloosemovie.com/
SYNOPSIS: The classic 1984 movie gets a makeover in this new version starring Kenny Wormald in the Kevin Bacon role. After losing his mom to leukemia, rebellious teen Ren McCormack moves to the sleepy town of Bomont, Georgia, where dancing has been banned following the death of five teens a few years earlier. But Ren aims to shake things up a little, which is just fine with the preacher’s daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough).
Sex/Nudity: The PG-13 rating pushes the limit. There’s lots of suggestive dancing throughout the movie, including teen girls dressed in skimpy outfits (body hugging tops and cut-off jean shorts) and grinding with both teen guys and inanimate objects (a water faucet, for one). In one scene, a teen girl tells a boy to shut the door and then starts unbuttoning her top. Later, she tells her parents she’s not a virgin anymore. Some kisses and flirting, and jokes about boners, threesomes and flexible bodies.
Violence/Gore: A girl’s boyfriend knocks her to the ground and hits her in the face, giving her a black eye. A couple of fight scenes between teen boys; in one of them, the girls get involved, too. A group of boys race old school buses around a track and crash into each other; one bus catches on fire and explodes. A girl stands on a railroad track as a train approaches; a boy pushes her out of the way just in time. A teen party with drinking ends in tragedy as their car crashes head on into an oncoming vehicle, killing five teens.
Profanity: “Bulls–t,” “s–t,” “a–hole,” “dick,” “ass,” “piss,” “dumbass,” “screw,” “prick,” “hell,” and “damn.” Ren, who used to be on the gymnastics team, is called a “fag” by another boy.
Drugs/Alcohol: After a teen party with drinking, a horrible car crash takes the lives of five teens. A joint is “planted” on Ren in the school library, but he flushes it down the toilet before a teacher sees it. Chuck, who’s out of high school, smokes a joint with his friends, some of whom are still in high school.
Which Kids Will Like It? Kids 14 and older who like dance movies or the original Footloose movie.
Will Parents Like It? It’s entertaining, though it sort of makes me want to go back and watch the original Footloose again.
REVIEW: You never really know what you’re going to get with a remake. It might be good. It might be better than the original. Or it might be downright awful. I’m glad to say that while the new Footloose in no way replaces the original 1984 movie, it’s still entertaining and features catchy music, fun dance moves, and some new faces on the big screen.
It’s kind of hard to imagine a town where dancing has been banned, especially with the singing-and-dancing Glee craze in recent years. But the sleepy town of Bomont, Georgia has indeed made it illegal for underage kids to dance in public. The law came about after five teens, including the son of the preacher (Dennis Quaid), were killed in a tragic car accident following a party with drinking and dancing (how about just pay more attention to the drinking part of it?).
Of course, the law doesn’t sit well with the teens, and they gather in secret to dance and have fun anyway. Here’s where Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) enters the picture. After his mom dies of leukemia, Ren moves from Boston to live with his aunt and uncle in Bomont. A former gymnast, Ren is shocked to learn of the dancing ban, which also includes a curfew for teens.
He immediately befriends football player Willard (Miles Teller) and starts exchanging glances with the preacher’s daughter, Ariel (Julianne Hough), who’s currently dating bad-boy Chuck Cranston (Patrick John Flueger). As Ren settles into town and starts fixing up an old VW Bug his uncle gives him, he decides to challenge the system and get the town dancing again.
With a movie like Footloose, it’s almost a requirement to give some nods to the original, and director Craig Brewer has done that. A few scenes are nearly identical to the original, including the iconic opening shots of various dancing feet, as well as the scene where Ren dances wildly in an abandoned warehouse.
But the movie also has enough fresh content to make it seem almost new – which is quite a feat when you think about it. The dances are modern and include street-type moves, as well as Western line dancing with a big group. The students are more diverse, and the locations are different – Ren’s home town is Boston instead of Chicago, and he moves to Georgia instead of Oklahoma. He’s also an orphan, which makes you want to root for him from the very beginning.
I can’t decide if Wormald is more like James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause or John Travolta in Grease, and I’d say he falls somewhere in the middle. He’s definitely a rebel, but also a good kid with values and morals and respect for others. One of the highlights is when he teaches rhythmically-challenged pal Willard how to dance. Hilarious and fun.
It’s hard to think of Julianne Hough as one of the professional dancers on Dancing With the Stars, because she seems so young and tiny in this movie. She’s 23 now, but was on DWTS from 2007 to 2009 – age 19 to 21 at the time. That’s pretty amazing for such a young girl to snag a place on that show, but she definitely has a high-achieving spark about her. And of course, she had a starring role in 2010’s Burlesque, as well.
I love seeing Andie MacDowell on screen again – she plays Ariel’s mom — because she’s one of my all-time favorite actresses. But I’d love to see her play something other than a concerned mom or supporting character. She has a movie coming up called Mighty Fine, so we’ll see what that’s about.
And I just have to say that Dennis Quaid makes me laugh with his stern dad roles. Yes, he’s played other characters in recent years, like General Hawk in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, but when I think of him, I think of his dad roles in Soul Surfer, Yours, Mine and Ours, and now this movie. I guess casting agents think he’s a believable dad, but it always seems like he’s play-acting to me.
At any rate, Footloose is an enjoyable film with some good messages about family and respect, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to go home and rent the original movie.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender.
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Jane Boursaw is a family entertainment writer specializing in movies and TV. Syndicate her family movie & TV reviews in your publication; visit her at ReelLifeWithJane; follow her on Twitter; become a friend on Facebook; email firstname.lastname@example.org.