Movie Review: Footloose

Movie Review: Footloose



PG-13 for some teen drug and alcohol use, sexual content,
violence and language.
Genre: Musical, drama, performing arts, remake
Running Time: 1 hour 53 minutes

Hustle & Flow director Craig Brewer takes the helm for this remake of the popular 1984 musical romance about a big-city teen who moves to a town that has outlawed dancing. In the wake of five teens from Bomont being killed in a car accident following a dance, officials decide it’s time to save their kids and stop the dancing.

Convinced the new law is hopelessly misguided, Ren puts on his dancing shoes to prove his point.

Really? A Remake of Footloose?

I clearly remember this Kevin Bacon block buster hit from 1984. The music was great and back in 1984 I thought the dancing moves were pretty cool too. But, how will this remake of such a classic movie play to the audience today? Of course the remake of such a movie begs the question – Are the filmmakers looking for new viewers? – Or – Are they hoping to stir nostalgic memories of the older crowd?

The story is the same but the players have changed. Ren MacCormack, played by big screen newcomer Kenny Wormald, finds himself in the small Bible Belt Town of Bomont. He’s been transplanted from Boston and comes face to face with Reverend Shaw Moore who encouraged area councilman to ban dancing and excessively loud music after the death of a number of teens involved in a car crash following a community dance.  Ren of course sees nothing wrong with dancing. He’s trying to show his fellow classmates that it’s perfectly normal to blow off a little steam with some loud music and good friends.

The lyrics are the same but the bands have changed. The dance moves are the same, but those doing the moves have changed. The plot line remains the same, but the date has changed.

Of course this is all in an effort to update this classic movie to appeal not only to a new audience, but the old audience as well. Did the movie-makers achieve what they were looking to do? I say “yes”! Overall this remake of Footloose is a very entertaining flick. I must admit I did miss Kenny Loggins singing the theme song, but that’s just a taste thing. The new musicians did very well with the classic rock and roll in the movie too. (But I did go home and buy the Loggins version of Footloose on iTunes right after the movie).

When it comes to acting, the relatively newcomers to the big screen turn in great performances. Kenny Wormald who plays Ren MacCormack did quite well at taking this role and making it his own. Yes, there are hints of a Kevin Bacon feel, but the bottom line is, all the characters in this edition of Footloose manage to update the flick, while not totally moving away from the integrity of the original movie. Of course Dennis Quaid is wonderful once again. He’s a seasoned actor who can play pretty much any type of role.

When I first heard of this remake I really doubted whether the filmmakers could pull it off. I loved the original and when you start trying to mess with a classic movie many fears come to mind. But when all is said and done, we must applaud those involved with Footloose. It’s updated but not out-dated. It’s new, but remains nostalgic. It also plays well to an audience of today and the audience that remembers the original so well too. (We do have the DVD of the original Footloose in our library). I must also admit that for a movie involving teens we were thrilled that the language was not over the top. That’s not to say this is a totally clean movie, but it is to say we are pleased that the scriptwriters did not feel the urge to fill the movie with vulgarity. If anything, the main thrust and theme of Footloose remains the same – You can have fun without having to do drugs and drink alcohol.

When it comes to rating, we are calling Footloose family-friendly. But keep in mind this movie is rated PG-13. That means it is NOT for the young crowd. While 13 might be a little young for this movie – keep in mind it’s a movie centered around senior year in high school. Yes there are drug references and alcohol references and there are teens taking part in those activities. But there are enough positive messages here too for possible discussion starters with your teens after viewing the movie.

Enjoy the show!

Dr. Rus

About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.