Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Footloose (2011) - QC Review

Directed byCraig Brewer
Starring:  Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Andie MacDowell and Dennis Quaid
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 1 hour 53 minutes  
Release Date: October 14, 2011

Did anyone ask for a new "Footloose"? It was a staple of the 80's and a launching pad for what would come of Kevin Bacon's long running career. To quote a patron at a local movie theater this was playing at when it first released a year ago, "No Bacon...no way". That is a sentiment shared by many and it is a valid one. Kevin Bacon was an integral part to what made that now 80's classic work. The story was silly, a town where dancing has been outlawed due to a couple of idiot teens who drank and drove their car into a one way ticket to an early grave. The music was pure 80's bliss and it just simply fit that time and place it was released in. So, once again, did we really need to revisit and remake "Footloose" for a new generation?

The gut reaction answer to that is no, but when you think about it this is probably one of the least offensive remakes in recent memory. The cast is likeable, Kenny Wormald is no Kevin Bacon but the guy can dance and he does a fine enough job in the role. Julianne Hough is gorgeous beyond belief (and one of the most "adult" teenagers in recent film history). Dennis Quaid, who excels in supporting roles like this, doesn't do anything drastically different from what John Lithgow did nearly three decades ago but still sells every line of dialog he is given.

Then there is the music which other than a really clever use of the original title song in the opening credits is sadly not very memorable in the least. To this day, whenever the 80's one hit wonder of Bonnie Taylor's "I Need A Hero" comes on, it brings back memories of two tractors playing chicken with each other out in that open farm field. Sadly no such memories were forged with the lackluster playlist assembled for this remake.

That leaves the dancing and the story, both of which are moderately successful. The dancing is fun and energetic with the entire cast knowing how to cut loose, but it never really took center stage the way you would hope. Even the original film was lacking a bit in this department but the few times we get to see people dance is often brief and not very fulfilling. Besides the finale there isn't much to hold on too, but at least this small bible town has hired plenty of professional dancers to tear up that dance floor when they find a place to shake those booties.

As for the story, this is a carbon copy of the original for better or worse. Besides some irritating scenes where they did little to differentiate itself from the original, it is still silly and forced but works within the context of the world created. Chances are if you either liked or hated the premise of the original film, this one will likely inspire those same feelings. So, did we need this remake? Not really, but there are far worse things that could be remade than "Footloose" (thank goodness that "Dirty Dancing" remake has been shelved). The only real negative thing that can be said about it is that it is unremarkable and easily forgettable. In that sense it is easy to watch and not have to pay attention to but then that begs the question of why watch anything if you aren't going to pay attention to it?

This isn't so much a clear cut case of, "No Bacon...no way" but more along the lines of, "No reason...no way". There are much worse dancing movies out there (hello "Step Up", we are looking at you...), but that doesn't automatically make it worthwhile to watch. Regardless however, if you are in the mood for a harmless little movie and want to revisit an 80's classic but can't stand the 80's trimmings, this is a passable remake that keeps the spirit of the original even if nobody asked for it.





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