*** (out of four)
Do not even think about shaking those hips in Bomont, Ga., Ariel (Julianne Hough), no matter how impressively your jeans hug ‘em. (One character notes her pants are so tight you can see if a quarter in her back pocket shows heads or tails.) This town has outlawed that sort of unholy business, and your reverend father (Dennis Quaid) isn’t going to let Boston-native Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) swoop into town and use his confidence and fancy footwork to change anyone’s mind, ya hear?
The buzz: The 1984 “Footloose” may look cheesy in hindsight, but it made Kevin Bacon a star and holds up as a story of the ineffectiveness of a repressive society to combat fear and pain. Another more important element that this remake, directed by Craig Brewer (“Hustle and Flow”), aims to maintain: Let’s party, y’all!
The verdict: Yes, “Footloose” is still corny and dips into melodrama like a bash that unwisely puts on Michael McDonald. It also finds a victorious sense of pride in dancing your ass off--good clean rebellion if there ever was some. Clever modernizations update the story without losing its roots (don’t worry, you’ll still hear “Let’s Hear It For the Boy”). And Wormald steps in just fine as a guy who believes in doing something in a town that’s against seemingly everything. Miles Teller (“Rabbit Hole”) is also a hoot as Ren’s pal Willard (played by the late Chris Penn in the original). Some may groan at the liberal fight against conservative small town ways; everyone should rally behind a joyful movie about parents wanting to protect their kids that puts fire in your feet.
Did you know? Ren’s cousin asks the best way to make a tissue dance, with the punchline being, “Put a little boogie in it.” It’s OK to chuckle, I’m not here to judge.
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