Another day another remake of an 80’s “classic” that caused fans to get in an uproar. I can’t say I was chomping at the bit to see a sequel to the original FOOTLOOSE let alone that I even liked or remember much about the original. The entire soap opera revolving the outrage over a remake for this film fits perfectly in the part of my brain reserved for stuff I just don’t care about- but now that I’ve seen the remake I can at least interject with my opinion. The short answer might even say more than expanding on it and it’s simply that this movie is not for me- but I didn’t hate it.
The thing that really puts me in the camp of people that just don’t care about a FOOTLOOSE remake is that I find the entire premise to be completely ridiculous. The film is centered on a town where a horrible tragedy has occurred and as a result public dancing has been outlawed. Granted there are additional laws that follow and dancing is allowed if your supervised and at least six inches apart but the sentiment itself is still sounds dumb to me even if it takes place in an extremely “church ruled” town. When a Boston teen, Ren, moves to town and challenges each law the town has instituted and takes a liking to the priest’s daughter there’s plenty of sweaty teen dancing and shenanigans afoot.
I’ll be honest- I expected to hate this movie a whole lot more than I actually did. Actually, the real truth is that I didn’t hate it at all- in fact I found myself surprisingly entertained by a lot that this movie had to offer. That’s not to say I’d ever really want to watch it again, although I wouldn’t throw a temper tantrum if I had to. My dread about watching it came from the premise that I still think is ludicrous and the extremely generic marketing that likely steered people like me away from it.
The cheese factor is pretty high in FOOTLOOSE- since you really have to accept the fact that dancing is indeed banned in this town, everyone is apparently a professional dancer and that someone would drive to a secluded warehouse to dance and blow off steam alone. When I say everyone is a professional dancer I mean EVERYONE is dancing like they live in a pop music video or was a choreographer in a previous life- you will find no classic moves like the lawn mower or sprinkler in this movie. Get passed all those things and you’re bound to get a kick out of the movie.
None of the actors or actresses here are going to redefine your view on acting in general but the performances are fun. Kenny Wormald doesn’t quite have leading man chops but he fits in well in the sea of young faces and holds his own throughout. The same can be said for the rest of the supporting cast- the guys are funny at times and the girls also have moments of comedy when they aren’t driving the guys nuts with their dance moves.
I feel like this is where I should lay into the really bad parts of the film but to be honest I don’t see the point. Sure there are things to dislike, but many of those same things are what kind of make the film a guilty pleasure. The acting is cheesy and can’t be taken too seriously, the plot is ridiculous and the dancing is even more so, but that’s what makes it fun. Honestly, if the film had tried to be dead serious, gritty and realistic it’d be a lot easier to sit here and tell you this version has gone the way of the Macarena- played out and embarrassing which this film might skid the line on, but in the end it avoids being unbearable.
Before I go too far and make anyone think this is top of the line stuff and in the running to compete with the beat films of its particular year let me just reiterate that had I had anything better to do while watching it I probably wouldn’t have finished it. The film is watchable for all the reasons it should he detestable and just because it’s got charming leads and fun dance numbers does not mean it is destined to be remembered for years and years to come. FOOTLOOSE is a remake that probably didn’t need to be made but since it’s here just sit back and have a little fun with it. Just return it to the video store early so that it appears as though you just couldn’t wait to get rid of it- appearances are everything after all.
Written By: Luke (@CrummyLuke on Twitter)