Saturday, September 22, 2012

Footloose (2011)

Directed by Craig Brewer.

2011. Rated PG-13, 113 minutes.

Kenny Wormald
Julianne Hough
Miles Teller
Ser’Darius Blain
Ziah Colon
Patrick John Flueger
Ray McKinnon
Kim Dickens

On their way home from a party, Bobby and four of his friends are killed when his car has a head-on collision with a truck. It just so happens that his dad, Rev. Moore (Quaid) is not just the only preacher in town, he also holds lots of clout in the local politics of the small town of Bomont. In what has to be the mother of all overreactions, the good reverend successfully leads a charge to ban dancing by minors anywhere in town except at church functions. Now, wait a minute. I was actually paying attention to the beginning. Sure Bobby took his eyes off the road to give his girl a smooch, but it’s not like they danced out into the middle of the street and got run over. Besides, it’s apparent that no one has ever questioned the truck driver who, from the looks of the accident, is at least as much in the wrong as Bobby. I digress.

Fast forward three years and Bobby’s little sister Ariel (Hough) is now a high school senior. Due to his never-ending grief, dad is still an unrelenting prick. Wait…what? Did I say that out loud? Anyhoo, he’s evidently blind and/or no one in town talks to him because he knows nothing about what his little girl is only kinda sorta hiding. Despite daddy’s iron-fist approach, or perhaps because of it, she’s hanging out with a sleazy racecar driver who looks to be at least 30. Okay, maybe 25 but having lived a hard life. That the rev knows nothing about this is however somewhat plausible given that the whole town is way too distracted by the shiny new object in their midst to pay much attention to Ariel. The incandescent bauble they focus on is Ren (Wormald), a kid from Boston who quickly gets a rep as a devil-worshipping troublemaker when he…gasp…plays his music too loud for the sensitive ears of Bomont’s finest. Just never you mind that this high quality audio is blaring from an iPod rigged to fit the stock stereo system of a rotting forty year old VW bug. He further cements his status as a rebel when we find out he’s not afraid to get his boogie on in public. Oooooh! Stick it to the man!

By the way, there is very good reason I’ve mentioned Ariel and Ren in the same paragraph despite my former English professors chomping at the bit to slam the cursor down behind the word “life” and hit enter twice. It’s my more-subtle-than-the-movie’s way of implying what it all boils down to: Boy meets Girl. If you don’t know what that means in regards to this cinematic endeavor, you are beyond my help.

If you’re younger than the racecar driver, you may not be aware that this is a remake of the eighties flick of the same name that made Kevin Bacon a star. I wonder if that whole six degrees of Kevin Bacon thing works with the kids in this movie. All right, I’ll explain it to the babies in attendance. No, that’s not condescending at all and this sentence isn’t sarcastic, either (the emoticon that winks goes here). Allegedly, just about any actor can be linked to Bacon within six other actors. As an example, let’s use Colin Farrell. He was in SWAT with LL Cool J who was in The Last Holiday with Queen Latifah who was in with Bacon. Get it? There’s even a site that does the work for you: oracle of bacon.

Hey! Play with that on your own time. Let’s get back to the remake since that’s supposedly what you’re here for.

You know what? You might get back to that site sooner than you think. I don’t want to spend too much time on this. Suffice it to say that everything happens pretty much right on cue. After boy meets girl, he realizes she is already dating old racecar guy. He likes to drink beer and fight. Nope, not at all a redneck stereotype (yes, place another emoticon here). Boy also has two guy friends, one black and one white. How’d you know the black friend, along with all the other black kids in the movie, is a dancing whiz? I’ll bet you couldn’t guess the white friend can’t dance at all. No stereotypes here, either (you know what to do). Yup, this means there is a semi-comedic, drawn out, Rocky styled training montage for our double left-footed pal. Finally, our hero has to deal with that pesky ban on dancing.

Honestly, you can stop reading and go back to playing with the Bacon site. I’m merely amusing myself at this point, sating my inner pontificator, and have nothing more of value to say. I know it’s debatable that I’ve said anything of value at all. If you want to know how this compares to the original, I’ve no idea. That one is one of those movies I’ve seen in small bits and pieces of over the years on basic cable as I’ve flipped channels. I’ve got the gist of it and have probably seen it all but I’ve never actually sat down and watched it from start to finish. I’m in no rush.

How is this one on its own merit? I’ll not even dignify my own rhetorical question with a typically lengthy reply (isn’t this review too long, already?). I’ll put it like this: the story is better than any of the Step Up sequels I’ve seen (having not seen part 4, just yet), but the dancing isn’t as good. Decide accordingly.

MY SCORE: 4.5/10

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