Classic tale of teenage rebellion and repression features a delightful combination of dance choreography and realistic and touching performances. When teenager Ren McCormack and his family move from big-city Chicago to a small Midwestern town, he's in for a real case of culture shock. Though he tries hard to fit in, the streetwise Ren can't quite believe he's living in a place where rock music and dancing are illegal. However, there is one small pleasure: Ariel Moore, a troubled but lovely blonde with a jealous boyfriend. And a Bible-thumping minister, who is responsible for keeping the town dance-free. Ren and his classmates want to do away with this ordinance, especially since the senior prom is around the corner, but only Ren has the courage to initiate a battle to abolish the outmoded ban and revitalize the spirit of the repressed townspeople. Fast-paced drama is filled with such now-famous hit songs as the title track and "Let's Hear It for the Boy". Written by
Teenager Ren (Kevin Bacon) moves to a small mid Western town with his mom after his parents divorce. It seems the Reverend Moore (John Lithgow), of the town's only church, has totally banned rock and roll music from the entire town. He has a daughter named Ariel (Lori Singer) who is basically a hell-raiser--yet loves her father. Rem decides to stop the ban and bring the town back to life.
OK--we're not dealing with reality here at ALL! A town banning rock music entirely is ridiculous and the town only has ONE church? And the game of chicken using tractors was just silly. And don't get me started on how Bacon, Singer, Chris Penn and Sarah Jessica Parker look WAY too old to be high school students--Singer was THIRTY when she did this! And how the heck did all the kids from the town learn how to dance so quickly? But, as a no brain musical, this does work.
The opening sequence alone is great (it shows various feet dancing to the title tune). Also the acting helps a lot. Bacon is just great--he doesn't take the movie too seriously and gives out a very good performance. He also has a big dance number (to a song called "Never") which is him and THREE different stuntman doing the more unrealistic moves. Singer is too old for her role but she tries. Penn is pretty good as Bacon's best friend--his learning how to dance sequence is a highlight. Parker did this before she was known and she's not bad. Lithgow and Wiest are just great as the Reverend and his wife--Wiest has a great scene where she calmly tells him off and Lithgow (wisely) does not play the Reverend as a one-note character. You see him trying to understand his daughter and slowly realizing that music isn't bad.
So--this is no "Singin in the Rain" but for a 1980s teen musical it's lots of fun. Great songs too. Just turn off your brain and enjoy!
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