'Footloose' an ordinary dance

October 14, 2011 

Here’s the good news — Kenny Loggins’ 1984 hit song and the film’s theme song is left in the 2011 version.

Drums pounding, synthesizer sizzling, Loggins voice soars. Toes tap. Smiles hit the face, and the theater is rocking out.

No. Wait. That’s not Kenny Loggins. It is country music star Blake Shelton. Admittedly, he does a decent imitation. And imitation is what sets the tone for Craig Brewer’s remake. The imitation — admittedly is decent — but not much more.

-- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

Brewer, whose claim to fame is 2005’s outstanding Hustle and Flow, rewrites the original screenplay and does a pretty good job of following Dean Pitchford’s 1984 script. Kids die in a car wreck after a dance on the edge of town. As a reaction, the city council, led by Dennis Quaid’s Reverend Shaw Moore, bans dancing.

Newcomer Kenny Wormald is orphan Ren McCormack sent to live with his aunt. He does an angst-filled love dance with Moore’s daughter Ariel. She’s done by also newcomer, Julianne Hough. He wants to dance. She wants to dance. All the kids want to dance.

Rebellion that was fun when Kevin Bacon, Chris Penn and John Lithgow did it in the 1980s isn’t that compelling.

Considering today’s kids and climate, it’s not that relevant either. Packed into the film are reworks of four of the original’s songs and unmemorable new music. Modern editing techniques turn dancing that should be fresh and spontaneous into tedious and tasteless.

Footloose is kind of like eating imitation crab. The taste is there, but it’s just not quite right. Or even better, the film is akin to drinking decaffeinated coffee. It hits the spot, but you don’t get much of a buzz.

Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars

Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It opens today at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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