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Mainstream Chick with Greta Gerwig @Middleburg

Footloose

Ah, to be 16 again… if even for an hour or two. That’s kind of how I felt watching the soundtrack of my youth playing out on the big screen – albeit with a contemporary twist – in this remake of the 1984 classic Footloose. I’d forgotten just how many hit songs the original movie generated: “Footloose”, “Almost Paradise”, “Holding Out for a Hero”, “Let’s Hear it for the Boy”… hmmm, where did I put that (vinyl) album?

Anyway, I went into the new Footloose with very low expectations, having been extremely disappointed – horrified even- by the 2009 reboot of Fame. But Footloose 2.0 didn’t suck. In fact, it was actually quite okay. It pays homage to the original (with Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer) while giving “today’s kids” a hipper, grittier, sexier take on the same basic story.

The movie features newcomer Kenny Wormald as Ren MacCormack, a sarcastic but soulful big city boy who moves to the small town of Bomont, where he hooks up with the preacher’s rebellious daughter Ariel (Dancing With the Stars pro Julianne Hough) and challenges the town’s ban on dancing in public.

Wormald and Hough are better dancers than they are actors, but they do a serviceable job with a mediocre script.  The movie takes a bit too long to find its rhythm – on and off the dance floor – but it’s fun when it’s grooving and it does end on a nice, albeit campy high note.  Is it as good as the original? Not even close. Would I rather Hollywood find new classics for a new generation rather than mess with another 1980s icon? Absolutely. Do I think that’s gonna happen? Sadly, no. In fact, a new Dirty Dancing is slated for release in 2013. Can Flashdance be far behind? Let’s hope not.

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