Ren MacCormack moves from big-city Boston to a small southern town, where life is very different. He lives with his aunt and uncle after his divorced mother's painful death from leukemia. An accident, in which five teenagers were killed after a night out, shocked the small town's community. The local councilmen and Reverend Shaw Moore reacted to the incident by banning loud music and dancing. Ren stands up to the outmoded ban and, in the process, falls in love with the Reverend's daughter Ariel Moore. Written by
His boots are seen dancing in the opening credits when the words "A Craig Brewer Film" appears. See more »
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Rev. Shaw Moore:
*He* is testing us. Our Lord is testing us. Especially now, when we are consumed with despair. When we are asking our God why this had to happen. No parent should ever have to know the horror of burying their own child. And yet, five of Bomont's brightest have lost their lives. Among them, my only son... my boy, Bobby. We have other children to raise here in Bomont. And one day, they will no longer be in our embrace and in our care. They will belong to the world. A world filled ...
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The only real reason to pay any attention at all to the new Footloose is to watch the music video for the terrific Big and Rich song "Fake ID." Other than that, there is little appeal in the film, as it shamelessly recycles almost every scene, event, and line from its original counterpart, and the ones it doesn't, it modifies for an audience that is questionably existent. If there's anything the film made me do, it made me seriously contemplate what a "remake" actually is and what their inherent goal is. To make the original material better? Make the story more current? Give it a stronger, more contemporary feel and look? If those questions were considered during the making of the Footloose remake, they weren't considered for very long. This is a stale, unimaginably boring picture, with its first real problem being it is trying to make an immensely dated story of music and dancing banishment current and relatable to teenagers of the present. In a time where vulgar rap by artists named "Chief Keef," "Juicy J," and "Wiz Khalifa" can be found on the iPods of teens in schools and they can get away with it, I highly doubt teens will be able to resonate with playing Kenny Loggins or Quiet Riot a bit too loud.
The original Footloose at least had the benefit of being a film with a contemporary issue to its time and the appeal of its lead, Kevin Bacon. Granted watching it now is like dusting off a C-grade vinyl that barely functions, it at least had the ability to give the student body a voice and a personality as they tried to keep their freedom to play rock music (please say this out loud) alive and well. The new Footloose, however, is like that guy randomly wearing acid-washed jeans in public in 2013; random, out of place, and questionable beyond belief.
The story hasn't changed at all; we center our sites on the small town of Bomont, Georgia, that has been musically silenced since reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) pressured the city council to ban music and dancing after loud music "resulted" in the deaths of five teenagers driving late at night. I say "resulted" because the cause of death was more of teenage stupidity. The pop music blaring on the radio at the time had little effect.
Ten years after this horrendous legislation, Bostonian teenager Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) waltzes into town and experiences a culture shock when he realizes that, hey, not only do people who live in other towns have different lifestyles than himself, but music is frowned upon in this tight-nit community. However, that doesn't stop Moore's rebellious daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough), who can often be found batting her bubbly blue eyes and shaking her bouncy backside in no mans land areas deep in the outskirts of town along with dozens of other teens.
Right off the bat, Moore isn't fond of the way Ren behaves. His attitude is smarmy and purposefully instigating, and the thought that he is a teen with something to say unnerves him greatly. The remainder of the film amplifies this conflict between them, as well as trying to make a bold statement that teenagers are supposed to be reckless, dumb, and the driving force behind many mistakes.
This conflict between Ren and "the man" leads all the way to the city council, where Ren tries to use Bible verses to sway the entire council (including Moore) to allow music and public dancing to be etched back in Bomont's society. He states that people in biblical times danced for God and Jesus, leaping and ecstatically celebrating them with the art of movement. Okay. I'm sure when Ariel is gyrating and shaking her blue-jean short-shorts in front of every guy in a vacant field she definitely has our lord and savior in mind. Same with Ren; I'm sure when he got down in the crowded saloon for line dancing or when him and several others fight the gang of bullies during a school dance at the end of the film, they all had God and Jesus in their hearts and minds. You couldn't fool a maroon with your logic.
Director Craig Brewer (Black Snake Moan and Hustle and Flow - two films that wouldn't even be on the same shelf as Footloose in ANY category, list, arrangement, etc) doesn't even offer any pleasing attributes to this film stylistically, albeit some good choreography. Other than maybe a few good scenes involving a large production number and several dozen dancers, the film's redone music, contemporary atmosphere, updated production, and caricature-driven cast seems like an act of indolence, if anything. I had a hard time admiring the original Footloose, but credited it for being something of a time-staple, even if it doesn't hold up well in present time. It's hard to credit the new Footloose at all, since its very existence is perplexing.
Starring: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Andie MacDowell, and Dennis Quaid. Directed by: Craig Brewer.
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