I haven’t seen the original since I was a wee lad, and I only really remember a couple things about it: The warehouse dance and the music. But this one seems to be pretty similar from what I’ve heard. We have Ren (Kenny Wormald), who just moved to small town Bomont from Boston, and he’s thrown off by some pretty crazy laws. After the death of five teenagers, including the son of Reverend Shaw (Dennis Quaid), the town made parties and loud music and dancing illegal. Ren doesn’t set out to be rebellious, but that’s how he looks when he starts getting flirtatious with Shaw’s daughter, Ariel (Julianne Hough). So along with his new friend Willard (Miles Teller), Ren goes out to learn to be a part of the town, while fixing its unnecessary laws.
Since the music was really the biggest thing I remembered from the original, let’s talk about that first. Unfortunately, this was my biggest problem with this film. There are three big title tracks from the original: Footloose, Holding Out For A Hero, and Let’s Hear It For The Boy. Let’s take a look at these one at a time. For “Footloose,” we’re treated to the original version at the beginning of the film–which is a really strange meta moment. Does that mean the original film exists in this universe? That makes my brain hurt in and of itself. And it’s not the first time that happens, either. The original version of “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” actually shows up later in the film, as well. But anyway, the film also ends with a country cover of “Footloose,” which is supremely inferior to the original version. The strangest change, though, is how they altered “Holding Out For A Hero” and made it into a weird, slow country ballad. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. A lot of the music in this film is country music–a genre I really do not like, even when it’s not destroying classic pop songs. The strangest thing, though, is that there’s also a bizarre hip hop addition to this film. It’s only there for maybe 2 scenes and that’s it. It feels strangely out of place from the tone of the rest of the film, as if added only to help market the film to the Step Up demographic.
The acting is fine all around. The most curious aspect is the guy who plays Ren is actually a native Bostonian–however, it felt as if he couldn’t hold the Boston accent through the film. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s like he kept dipping in and out of it throughout the movie. But if he’s from that area, not holding the accents seems illogical. So that confuses me. On the whole, though, nobody was fantastic, and some were just over-the-top, but nobody was really terrible. The best, though was Miles Teller’s Willard, originally played by Chris Penn. He was a fun character and performed it rather well. They also seemed to cast Sarah Jessica Parker’s character based on ‘horse face’, because they really got that down (seriously, though… the girl they got here is rather pretty… once you get used to her).
The dancing is alright. It’s, at times, just as cheesy as I remember the original to be. They added in a lot of line dancing, as well as krumping and other forms of urban dance. The warehouse scene is in this version as well, but they play it against some soft techno kind of music that doesn’t really match his movements and kind of destroys the emotion of the scene. It’s not terrible, and the choreography is good. It just could have used better music.
If you can look past the silly premise (which is no fault of this film anyway), you’re looking at what’s actually a pretty good flick. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it does have some strong points. I can’t say how it holds up to the original in many ways, since I don’t remember the original, but it works in and of itself just fine. The music is easily the weakest aspect of this film, which is sad, considering it’s the music that the original had going for it to me. But I say check it out if it was ever anything that interested you.