Footloose: Dancing in the Goon-light

By Beckii CMovies - 03 November 2011 9:20 AM | Updated 2:36 PM

Footloose: Dancing in the Goon-light

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

The Stars: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid, Andie MacDowell.

The Story: Young Ren McCormack (Wormald), moves from Boston to Tennessee and finds himself in a place caught in the throes of a set of laws which forbids loud music and dancing; brought about by a grief-stricken preacher (Quaid) after a tragic drunken accident 3 years prior. Ren quickly befriends some of the quirky townsfolk, including Ariel (Hough), the rebellious preacher’s daughter whom he's attracted to. Sprightly Ren tries to bring the groove back to the repressed community, but not before hitting a few speed bumps along the way.

The Buzz: Based off the 1984 version starring Kevin Bacon, this 2011 remake directed and scripted by Craig Brewer (Black Snake Moan, Hustle & Flow) saw the likes of Zac Efron and Chace Crawford cast as leading man Ren before relative newcomer Wormald took up the role.

inSing.com thinks: Footloose is one of those guilty-pleasure, old-school films that many of us (whether we admit it or not) still have some residual affection for. With its general sweet-naturedness and rather engaging, heartfelt performances, it's really not difficult to see why. Sadly, this 2011 remake, though more slickly produced, ultimately feels like a soulless, joyless effort.

Most of the dialogue feels like it’s been lifted almost verbatim from the original script, but a few of the iconic moments have been ripped out and given a modern twist, presumably in a feeble attempt to connect with its target audience; They race school buses instead of tractors, Ren's from Boston instead of Chicago, Ariel comes across more insipid instead of merely a little spirited, Bacon's famous dance of frustration in the warehouse has simply become a montage of Wormald gasping and grunting like he's got the runs - the list is embarrassing even for a film of its genre.

The cast is unequivocally hopeless.  The two leads lack panache, chemistry and any sort of basic acting skills whatsoever. Wormald is awkward and stilted, professional ballroom dancer and Dancing with the Stars alumnus Hough is nifty on her feet but couldn't act her way out of a wet sack if you gave her a knife and written directions. Quaid's role is hardly worth mentioning and MacDowell fades into the dark side of stereotypical anonymity.

Sorely lacking the Southern charm and grit of the original, Brewer's rehash serves up a few interesting dance sequences, but eventually proves to be a disappointing, stale effort that seems well past its used-by date.