Directed by: Craig Brewer
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Andie MacDowell, Kenny Wormald. Julianne Hough, Miles Teller
Re-made from the original 1984 version, Footloose finds Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) moving in with relatives to Bomont, Georgia from the big city (Boston this time instead of Chicago) after his mother dies (his mother was very much alive in the original.) Ren is a big-city kid with an attitude. He's a misfit stuck in a small bible-belt town where public dancing by teenagers has been abolished after five teens were killed in a car accident on their way home from a dance. Ren makes both friends and enemies amongst his peers. He befriends a popular redneck kid named Willard (Miles Teller) and falls in love with the bad girl/preacher's daughter Ariel (Juliane Hough.) He starts a petition to get the no dancing laws abolished so the school can have their senior dance. He battles with school authorities, the town council , and most of all The Rev. Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid.) I hate to give it away...but it's really no secret what happens next. Ren is victorious in getting the school dance, the bad guys get their butts kicked in a fight, and all the teens dance and frolic at the dance in the end.
While the plot remains relatively intact, it fails on every other level. The entire film looks like a bad episode of Glee, starting with the opening scene of a choreographed song and dance routine to the re-made tune of "Footloose." With a mix of hip-hop and country music, the score is nothing but a re-made soundtrack of the original. I will begrudgingly admit that both Wormald and Hough in their respective roles can in fact dance, but neither one of them can act their way out of a paper bag. Their scenes together are painful to watch. What's even more painful to watch is the scene where Ren pulls into the vacant warehouse and does his "I'm pissed and gotta blow off steam by dancing routine." In the original version, Kevin Bacon pulls off this scene with his energetic dancing, filled in with an up-beat score and flash-back sequences of all the things bothering him. In this version, Wormald starts yelling and screaming, and then does some sort of urban dance/gymnastic bit that just did not fit. The scene looked painful for Wormald himself to do, let alone somebody else watching it. It was clear he had no idea of where to go with the character in this particular scene. The only props I will give is to Dennis Quaid; he is one of the finest actors in the business, and he is the only one in the entire cast capable of making a convincing argument in his portrayal of The Reverend Shaw Moore. The role of Vi Moore (Andie MacDowell) basically just disappears. I don't mean that MacDowell disappeared into her character of the Preacher's Wife, I mean she completely disappears in the film. Her character is utterly useless in this version, only carrying about two dozen or so lines of dialogue. MacDowell looked and acted like a robot throughout all of her scenes who was just going through the motions, and wishing she was anywhere but on the set of this film.
Re-making films is nothing new in Hollywood. Sometimes a great director can come along and take a classic film, update it, and make it even better than the original. Case in point is the 1962 classic film Cape Fear. Martin Scorsese remade that film in 1991 and did a brilliant job of twisting the roles a little bit; making the character of Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte) a person with dark skeletons in his closet, and not so wholesome like the Gregory Peck version of the role in 1962. Another example is the 1935 film Mutiny on the Bounty. Re-made in 1962 and then again in 1984 (The Bounty), the re-makes of this film broguht something different to the screen, each time making it better.
The 2011 version of Footloose is definitely NOT an example of taking a classic film and making it better. Director Craig Brewer massacred this film. I'm surprised too- coming from a director who made great films like Hustle & Flow (2005) and Black Snake Moan (2006.) However, after what he did to Footloose I am sure that Herbert Ross (director of the 1984 version) is probably rolling in his grave...even though the film was dedicated to him in the end credits.