See 'Footloose' — It's Even Better Than The Original! Four Stars!

Kevin Bacon -- forgive me! I loved your original 1984Footloose, but this new version with Kevin Wormald and Julianne Hough, blows it away! From the riveting and I mean RIVETING dance numbers, to the magnetic chemistry between the lead characters, Ren and Ariel, to Blake Shelton singing an updated version of the theme song -- this 2011 version of Footloose is an instant new classic.

New Footloose Review

And a film you’ll want to see more than once. I know I’m ready to go a second time. There were a multitude of  charming moments that I just want to take in again, starting from the opening credits sequence with fabulously dancing feet, to the fun impromptu dancing scene outside the local hangout!

Now while Footloose features a budding romance at its’ center between the rebellious pastor’s daughter Ariel and Ren, the orphaned outsider boy from Boston who’s just moved to town, the movie lovingly focuses on the other key relationships.

These include Ren’s sweet and hilarious friendship with local good guy/goofball Willard, played by Miles Teller. The scene where Ren teaches gangly Willard to dance, with the help of Ren’s adorable young nieces, to the sound of, “Let’s Hear It For The Boy,” is a total pleasure.

Then there’s the warmly developed relationship that Ren develops with his aunt Amy and Uncle Wes, who take him in, in their little town of Bomont, Georgia, after Ren’s mother loses her long, tough battle with leukemia.

This family relationship has so much more depth than the cartoon-like disapproving family that Kevin Bacon moved in with, in the original film.

And it actually makes this version of Footloose much more warm and believable than the original.

The story is in most ways the same as the original except in small ways. Ren moves from Boston to Bomont alone, after the single mom that he’s nursed for months, dies. He dresses in a minor way like a rebel with a James Dean pompador and leather jacket and he LOVES to dance. A member of his former high school’s gymnastics team, he’s NOT a substance abuser; he’s a hard-worker, great car mechanic and he LOVES to dance.

In other words, he’s a great kid. But that doesn’t stop trouble from following him.

From the moment that he arrives in this small Georgia town, where his mother grew up, some of the locals are suspicious of the loud rock and roll music playing in his car, and they’re convinced he’s up to no good.

The problem is that three years before, five of the town’s high school seniors were killed while driving home after a night of dancing, partying and drinking.

The town’s reaction, led by Reverend Show Moore, played by Dennis Quaid, is to ban high schoolers from dancing — not even at a school prom. The Reverend is particularly adamant because one of those five students killed was his beloved top student son, Bobby.

Ren is incredulous at this ban and embarks on a campaign to get the town council to allow the high school seniors to hold a full-on prom. Meanwhile, he also embarks on a budding relationship with Ariel, who he woos away from her doltish racing car driver, boyfriend, Chuck, played by Patrick John Flueger. Maybe Ren senses that Ariel is a lost soul, underneath her wild girl swagger. Her older brother Bobby, had been her hero.

In every way, this new version of Footloose fleshes out the best of the original! The characters, the plot and best of all — the dance numbers.

Kenny and Julianne, unlike Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer — can DANCE like crazy — especially Julianne! Their dance numbers are wild, sexy and fun. Especially fun is a new extended scene of fabulous line dancing when Ren, Ariel, Willard and Ariel’s BFF escape from the town for a night of dancing in a bar where dancing is allowed!

The only thing that would have made this new Footlooseeven better, would have been EVEN more DANCING! The prom scene could have gone on minutes longer and it would have been just more sheer pleasure.

So get prepped to cut loose and see Footloose!

Will you go to see Footloose Hollywoodlifers?

— Bonnie Fuller

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