Footloose has a passionate audience for the 1984 film, so many asked when it was announced that writer-director Craig Brewer was bringing it into the 21st century: Why remake a classic? Why not! Plays are redone all the time. What is so great about Footloose of 2011 is that it adds so much to what we loved about the original.
Many will compare Kenny Wormald to Kevin Bacon and there is no comparison. They are different Rens for different generations. Yet both will reap the same result from having starred in Footloose: It is a star-maker.
Wormald waltzes into the small Georgia town where dancing and rock and roll have been banned and sets the screen afire. Previously, Wormald worked as a back-up dancer for Justin Timberlake and for our money, he could take his former employer’s roles heading forward. Not to take anything away from Timberlake’s acting ability, we’re just stating that Wormald has the charisma of Timberlake, yet culls from a deeper place as an actor.
Wormald is just one spoke in the wheel that makes this Footloose run on all cylinders. Together, Wormald and Julianne Hough are stellar.
Julianne Hough can really act her tail off. Given her immense dancing and singing talents, some may have scoffed at her casting in such a pivotal role that requires such emotional fortitude. In one particular scene, she expressively goes toe-to-toe with Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell and winds up stealing your heart.
Miles Teller steals scenes. Check out our exclusive interview with Teller, who plays Willard, the kid who cannot dance. Teller shows serious depth as not only the comic relief of the film, but also a fine representation of the collective that is the teens in this town who for years have lived under the authoritative rule by adults not willing to give them a chance to flourish in their own way.
The film's music causes audiences to get up and dance. The overall chorus when Movie Fanatic left our screening was one of “I cannot believe how much fun that was.” Boogie down, indeed. The soundtrack rocks and features several new tracks as well as remakes of the classics that left our screening audience cheering. Incorporated in the same manner as in the original, the Let’s Hear it for the Boy remake is a highlight, and so is Almost Paradise in the penultimate “prom” scene. The best of the new tracks is the Big and Rich Fake ID with Gretchen Wilson that lays the soundtrack for an electric country line dance scene that left us gasping for air. (Check out the video below for a behind the scenes look of the line dance.)
At the beginning of the film, the original Footloose by Kenny Loggins plays and by the time it hits its big crescendo, a moral springboard has been established through tragedy. Footloose 2011 is modernized on many levels. For one, the no-dancing law at the heart of the story comes from a more profound place than in the original 1984 film as established as Loggin’s Footloose fades.
This reason for the power of the new Footloose lies squarely on the shoulders of Brewer. Brewer’s passion for Footloose seeps through every frame and is completely contagious.