I LOVED, loved, loved Footloose in 1984. I made my parents listen to the soundtrack on road trips 'til my mom threatened to throw Loggins & Co. out the car window somewhere near Canada. It was all about that awesome end scene in the mill when the kids took turns showboating down the dance line, with improbable amounts of confetti spraying everywhere like some '80s Lisa Frank dream! Well, I'm here to say that director Craig Brewer did not ruin my pubescent wankfest with his remake of Footloose. Dare I say... this new one's fun.
Brewer (director of dirty South flicks Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan) takes the premise of the original—city boy moves to backward town where they don't allow dancing—and adds layers of context and backstory while stripping away the goofy dated bits. Ren (Kenny Wormald) moves in with his uncle and his family after his mother dies, only to be told there's NO DANCING in this small Georgia town. Town reverend Dennis Quaid is pretty upset about a kegger that his son went to and then died on the way home from in a drunken driving accident. So Dennis becomes the Dance Nazi. Oh, and his daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough) is kind of a skank 'cause she's upset too. You know the story, right?
But do you remember there actually wasn't all that much dancing in the Footloose of your childhood? There was actually just a lot of pouty Kevin Bacon, plus a pretty awesome performance from Lori Singer as the damaged denim-and-lace minister's daughter. (Here, the milquetoast Jennifer Aniston lookalike Hough is no Singer—girl's got no edge. She's like a floppy puppy trying to act all tough. Nice red boots though!) Brewer's Footloose is all about loss—loss of children, parents, freedom, and the ability to dance your ass off. Not to make it sound like a drag, 'cause it's anything but: This dance-packed remake is bombastic, ditching the hick bar scene for a balls-out sweaty, sexy dance fest. Black kids crunking the fuck out in the drive-in parking lot. Instead of a hokey game of tractor chicken, a bang-'em-up demolition derby... with tricked-out school buses. Yay! There's always room in my heart for a Footloose that hews this close to the original, but also has fun dancing on the grave of its dull bits.