Written by / 10/14/2011 / No comments / , , ,

FOOTLOOSE (2011)

title: FOOTLOOSE
year: 2011
cast: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid, Miles Teller
rating: **

The premise of a small town in America that outlaws dancing has always been farfetched, but during the 1980’s it worked in the lightweight classic starring Kevin Bacon as a big city kid forced to live in Hicksville. There are a few problems with this remake: First off, we relive the origin of the dance-ban as five teens are killed in an automobile accident after leaving a nightclub. This takes away from a haunting moment in the original as that love interest, played by Lori Singer, tells the ghostly tale of her brother’s demise. We also witness the law being put into motion, taking away from the main character's shocked realization of it. But what really made the original work was the town itself, white trash kids who seemed not only unhindered by the ban: but didn’t realize what they were missing – and it took our protagonist to break them from their shell. The kids in this movie seem like AMERICAN IDOL contestants waiting in the Green Room, and have no real need for a hero like Ren McCormack, played by newcomer Kenny Warmald, a Johnny Depp lookalike who, being an actual dancer, brings real moves to the screen. But this makes him more of an athlete hindered by a crazy law than a rebellious kid breaking free from it. Chris Penn’s character Willard is played by Miles Teller with sincere hillbilly charm, although during the montage in which Ren teaches him to dance he becomes a little too good at it – making you forget he had a problem to begin with. Dennis Quaid plays the preacher with cold calculation, but with a one-note scowl throughout, he misses the mark of an everyman torn between what he feels is right and the love of his daughter Ariel, played by Julianne Hough who, seeming like she's posing for a magazine ad in every shot, is the most wasted character. While Warmald tries his best to remain perpetually annoyed by the town’s dictatorship... and has moments of genuine compassion as he reflects upon his mother's death... his performance, and the script, lacks the breezy fun of the original. And his progressive uncle and aunt provide him an out – making Ren seem not so alone in his predicament. Many scenes mirroring exact moments and dialog from its iconic predecessor keeps this from standing (and dancing) on its own two feet. And instead of the tractor chicken race, we have a five truck demolition derby more befitting to Mad Max than a REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE inspired flick about dancing and rebellion.
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