You may ask why anyone would bother to remake the little piece of 1984 froth that featured Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer and John Lithgow in an utterly forgettable saga of how Kevin got a town to love dancing, after having banned it.
Perhaps Hollywood is out of plots? Perish the thought. This new “Footloose” has been “reimagined” as a piece of Southern-fried hokum.
Is this new version true to the nuances of the original? I have no idea. All I remember is Kevin looking cute and dancing well, Lori looking stunned and John Lithgow looking like he’d walked into the wrong studio door chanting quietly to himself “look pained but think of the money”.
The music and dancing were pretty hot, for the era of Madonna’s pouty, plump and adorable early days. Kenny Loggins’ theme tune and “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” were in the pop charts, for quite a long time.
On a cold and rainy Sunday morning, I awoke with the help of strong coffee – I am not a morning person – and coopted a discerning friend to go down to Newham’s Showcase cinema, on a ShowFilmFirst freebie for two.
Google’s directions conspired against us and we got lost in the no man’s land that is sort of East Ham, Barking and Ilford borders. We were late. I don’t think I missed anything essential to the story, but the first five minutes will remain unknown to me, kind of like high school algebra’s “x”.
Showcase Newham needs to signpost itself better. Really, it does.
I settled in to sneer and feel superior, with, perhaps, the possibility of tapping my feet a little. I do love music and dancing almost as much as movies.
Okay, this won’t win any Oscars and it probably won’t do great box office. It is, however, great fun to watch. The saga of the new kid in town fighting for his right to party is still quite an entertaining premise. There is a fun scene of school bus racing.
The young stars are charming and talented and thoroughly entertaining. Dennis Quaid takes the John Lithgow role and Andie McDowell plays his wife. Dennis is a preacher and his daughter, played by Julianne Hough, is a wild child.
Kenny Wormald is pretty good in the Kevin Bacon role. Ziah Colon, Ser’Darius Blain and Miles Teller are all super in the supporting roles and will have great careers. Kenny and Julianne have lots of style, but very little chemistry between them.
Director Craig Brewer (“Black Snake Moan”) has quite a nice line in snappy pace and he avoids most of the traps that could have turned this into a risible snoozefest. Everyone in the packed cinema thoroughly enjoyed it.
The script is a team effort and it features fun one-liners and few emotional excesses. There are a few not-so-good guys. It’s nice to see kids who aren’t glued to phones and IPods.
The dancing is the real feature here and that’s fun to watch. I didn’t learn anything, but it’s entertaining.
And the music brings back that “Footloose” theme and “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” in quite a stylish way. The rest of the score is good too.
Should you see it? Yes, if you love music and dance movies. Otherwise, you should remember that Southern-fried things may have more sugar and fat than you would like to ingest.
Here is the original “Footloose” trailer. Everyone had enormous hair back then. Enjoy the theme.