Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Review: Footloose

Every generation, it comes time for the cinema to teach us an important lesson about life. This lesson is that loud music and dancing are the devil's tools and must be eradicated by rule of law. A wise pastor/town dictator must obliterate that silly division between church and state.

To stoke fear in the hearts of the just, movies about this subject must present the sum of all fears -- that a hedonistic youth will shake the foundation of such just ordinances with a swirl of cartwheels and air-splits.

The new Footloose, like its 1984 progenitor, provides ample entertainment while stirring the pangs of wrath in your heart. The remake copies the original beat for beat, which is necessary because the first film was cinematic perfection that cannot possibly be improved on by man nor beast.

Leave it to director Craig Brewer to emerge from his humble beginnings, making the multiple Oscar-nominated Hustle & Flow, to rise to his true calling -- learning how to use the "copy" and "paste" functions of FinalCutPro to replicate the work of others.

Brewer expertly re-uses the two main songs from the original, "Footloose" and "Let's Hear it for the Boy," because in the past 27 years, no better songs than those have been invented. Even if, for some reason, this is actually no longer the way kids danced, and in fact never was the way anyone danced, but the style was just an odd 1980s movies construct, you must give the choreographers credit for driving home the point that dance is indeed an abomination that must be outlawed.

It's of little doubt that star Kenny Wormald, who plays the vile antagonist, the new kid in town with the loosest of feet, will go on to be the namesake of a parlor game called Six Degrees of Kenny Wormald in the future. Or that Julianne Hough will match the illustrious career of Lori Singer, and in 37 years be so far along that she'll be able to snag a role that's the equivalent of the bit part Dede Aston in season 12, episode 22 of CSI: SVU.

As far as acting goes, these kids certainly can dance, causing myriad problems for the heroic preacher played by Dennis Quaid, who finds deep layers of determination by refraining from splashing holy water on his detestable daughter or her malevolent suitor as they break the town's law repeatedly for 113 minutes.

Also, kudos to the choreography team for nailing the embarrassing arms-waving tap-dance-like style, which they copy from the first Footloose. They clearly did their research, discovering that this is exactly how kids dance today.

Starring Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid and Andie McDowell. Written by Craig Brewer and Dean Pitchford, based on a story by Pitchford. 113 minutes.

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