Look, before you decry a remake of “Footloose” and figure the Hollywood machine can’t do justice to your favorite ’80s movie, remember: The original “Footloose” wasn’t “Citizen Kane.”
The reason “Footloose” had such resonance with people of a certain age was because it was an entertaining movie with a killer soundtrack and pleasing dance moves. It was about kids having a little freedom, a little break from parental tyranny. And then there was a foxy, young Kevin Bacon — a rebel in a red tuxedo. It was a recipe for huge success.
Luckily, the new “Footloose” doesn’t stray too far from the original formula. With a little updating and a little more grit, director Craig Brewer, known for edgier fare such as “Hustle & Flow” and “Black Snake Moan,” has created a kick-ass homage. His version covers all of the bases: close-ups on dancing feet, a few of the classic songs and even familiar outfits. It’s faithful to the original without being stodgy.
Kenny Wormald, the man who has to fill Bacon’s large dancing shoes, does an admirable job in the lead role. He plays the rebel Ren with adorable aplomb. He might not have the limber grace of Bacon, but he gives the dance scenes his all.
Yes, there are moments of pure absurdity (in a time of rampant teen pregnancy, gangs and failing schools, a ban on dancing seems far too quaint) and there might be some cringe-worthy lines, but the heart of “Footloose” — teenagers who just want to be teenagers — isn’t lost.