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Marshall Fine Headshot

Movie Review: Footloose Remake - Why?

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There are so many threats to personal freedom in this country today -- so many real, live boogie men out there trying to dictate how we live our lives -- that creating false, obvious ones in movies for teens seems counter-productive.

Or maybe I should just say: Geez, Footloose sucked when it was a Kevin Bacon movie in 1984. Who thought remaking it, almost scene for scene and song for song, would improve it?

Someone, apparently -- and, apparently, there's a whole generation that sees nothing wrong with making reference to the ultra-lightweight original as "a classic." Talk about grade inflation.

But let's get back to my initial point. In Footloose, the villains are uptight social conservatives -- led by a conservative minister -- who have banned dancing, live music and late nights for teens in their small town of Bomont (relocated, for no apparent reason, from Oklahoma in the original to Georgia in this one).

Never mind increasingly restrictive abortion availability or draconian immigration laws or -- well, the examples seem endless in a country where the religious right is still setting the political agenda in too many places. No, this is a town that bans music and dancing.

Which would be fine if this were a movie that was an artful metaphor for the larger society. But it's not. Instead, just like the original, it's a bogus feel-good melodrama built around ersatz popular music -- lame hip-hop, bad power pop, worse country music - and the promise of dancing.

But only the promise. Director Craig Brewer -- who built a lot of good will with Hustle & Flow and then squandered it with Black Snake Moan -- seemingly has no clue how to film the meager dance sequences that choreographer Jamal Sims has put together.

It's not like Sims doesn't have a flourishing dance culture to work with, unlike Lynn Taylor-Corbett, who choreographed the original in the nascent days of break-dancing. In the nearly three decades since, there have been all kinds of pop-dance movements - and movies (like David LaChappelle's Rize) that chronicled them.

You couldn't tell that from Sims' work here, which looks like a throwback to Urban Cowboy or perhaps the Achy Breaky Heart video.

This review continues on my website.