No, we’re not back in the 80s, but that’s a scene from the new “Footloose.” Hi, I’m Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of mubi.com.
And I’m Christy Lemire of the Associated Press. And we're starting off this week with the remake of the 1984 classic that made Kevin Bacon a superstar. Director Craig Brewer's film is very faithful to the original, about a bad boy from the big city who moves to a small town and just wants to dance -- come on, is that so wrong? Kenny Wormald has taken over in the starring role as Ren McCormack.
Clip 2 -- Line dance. They drive two hours away to dance at a honky tonk.
But Ren also makes the mistake of falling for the preacher's daughter in this insular town, who's a rebel child herself. She's played by Dancing With the Stars alum Julianne Hough.
Clip 3 -- Nice tie. Ren wears a tie on the first day of school. Ariel flirts with him.
But since tragedy struck a few years back, no one's allowed to party or dance or have fun in any way -- the town's preacher, played by Dennis Quaid, helps make sure of that.
Clip 4 -- Your father is here. Dennis Quaid breaks up fun at the snack bar.
Now I have to admit that, as a child of the '80s, I was appalled at the very idea of a "Footloose" remake. But then ... I saw the movie. And Brewer, who also directed "Hustle and Flow" and "Black Snake Moan," has improved on the original just by putting his own aesthetic stamp on it. It's dirtier, grittier, sexier, steamier, but still a lot of fun. Wormald is primarily a dancer, and the fact that he's an unknown, as Bacon was, lets us project all our expectations onto him. But the real surprise here is Hough, who's beautiful and confident but also holds her own in the more dramatic moments. I had a blast -- thumbs up from me.
IGNATIY: I’m not sure we saw the same movie. The movie I saw was completely inert.
CHRISTY: Because you hate fun, and laughter and dance
IGNATIY: No, I love laughter, and I love dance more than anything I love dance. And guess what, dance is about, it’s about rhythm, and it’s about movement, and it’s about space, which this film does not have any sense of whatsoever.
CHRISTY: It’s about expression, which is the whole point of why dance matters in this film. It’s about expressing yourself.
IGNATIY: So the dance here expresses nothing. I think the, the dance sequences…I’m sure there was some great choreography and some great dancing that went into this movie. You don’t see any of it. It’s so…
CHRISTY: Actually, a lot of the choreography is the same as in the original. The whole angry dance scene in the warehouse is very faithful to the original.
IGNATIY: But it’s, it’s so muddled, and the thing is that, you know, Brewer I’ll give him credit for one thing. He’s very good at handling the Southern setting, and I feel like this movie is actually much more interesting when nothing is going on; when the characters are just hanging out and talking then it is when things are supposed to happen. Because the moment there is supposed to be a fight or a, you know, there’s a car chase at one point or a dance it all falls apart because he’s no…he doesn’t really have any expressive, you know, qualities to absolve that he needs to…
CHRISTY: Who? Kenny Wormald doesn’t?
IGNATIY: No, Brewer, his…I think those sequences are so muddled. They just…they fall a apart. The movie becomes flat.
CHRISTY: Oh, Brewer. There’s a lot more going on here but it’s not as earnest as the orginal, but it still has the same sense of liveliness and energy.
IGNATIY: Liveliness and energy were the, the last two words I would describe this film with.
CHRISTY: You found Footloose: all the singing, all the dancing, all the excitement of youthful rebellion you found that boring and a drag?
IGNATIY: I would have rather just watched…yeah…well yes it’s boring. I mean you hardly even see it because it’s so, he just has this relentless cutting that makes it essentially abstract to the point where it just doesn’t make sense anymore.