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Saturday 19 August 2017

Review: Footloose * * *

(12A, general release)

Paul Whitington

It's pretty hard to think of a film more quintessentially 80s than Herbert Ross's Footloose, a frothy musical drama that was made a hit by insistent teens (mainly female) rather than critical acclaim. In it, a fresh-faced Kevin Bacon played Ren McCormack, a big-city teenager who sets the cat among the pigeons when he moves to live with his aunt and uncle in a bible-belt town where dancing has been expressly prohibited.

In this remake, funnily enough, exactly the same thing happens! So note for note is Craig Brewer's film, in fact, that one could be forgiven for wondering what the point of it all is. But at least it's pretty well made in the main, and tolerably entertaining.

Dancer Kenny Wormald is Ren McCormack, who is sent to Bomont, Tennessee, to live with his aunt and uncle after his mother's death from cancer. Ren, understandably, is a troubled young man, but his love of fast cars and loud music soon lands him in trouble with the local law, who disapprove of music, dancing, and fun of any kind.

Three years previously, a group of teenagers were killed in a car crash on their way home from a dance. Among them was the Reverend Shaw Moore's son, and he has led a campaign to protect Bomont's teens by smothering their wilder instincts.

The reverend's daughter, Ariel (Julianne Hough), has rebelled, and when she and Ren become attracted to one another, the newcomer gets the blame.

There are some enjoyable dance routines once things get going, and Brewer's film ticks along at a decent pace.

Dennis Quaid is well cast as the censorious but well-meaning reverend, and Andie MacDowell is drippy as ever as his watery wife.

Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough are both impressive dancers, but their supposed passion is unconvincing, and Miles Teller steals the show as Ren's awkward southern buddy, Willard.

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