Footloose poses the question: what would the world be like if dancing was banned? Answer: who cares?! The real question is: what would it be like if bad dance-filled movies were banned? The answer to this question is obvious: the world would be a much better place, especially without this effortless formulaic remake. It lacks heart, soul, talented actors and anything worth giving a damn about.
I’ve not seen the original Footloose, so I can’t compare the two, but if the original is anything like the remake – which I hear it is – it’s not worth watching either. A group of kids, including the small-town preacher’s son, are killed in a drunk driving accident after leaving a party where they danced their hearts out to the original Footloose soundtrack. Because the preacher (a washed-up Dennis Quaid) is so torn up by the accident, he convinces his fellow members of the city councel board to ban public dancing and loud, provacative music.
Three years later, some wannabe tough kid from Boston (played by a bad no-name actor most likely cast for his dance skills) who ballet dances on his free time moves to town and isn’t willing to stop expressing himself through dance-offs, so he starts a rebellion to lift the ban. His personal mission isn’t the only thing that pisses off the preacher; he falls for the preacher’s rebel daughter (played by Dancing with the Stars‘ Julianne Hough – who definitely only got the part because she’s on a broadcast network television dance-off series).
Honestly, dancing is the last thing that comes to mind when someone says “cut loose.” Since when has dancing and dance-offs been considering a popular thing amongst teens? (I blame High School Musical, Glee and the infestation of amateur dance programs on television). The dancing scenes in Footloose are a joke. Think of the mocking catwalk scene from Zoolander – only serious. Thing of the anger-dances from Hot Rod and Flight of the Conchords – also serious. It’s sad that these parodies pull it off in a more realistic manner than this serious drama.
Because the antagonist is a God-fearing preacher, the movie jams a heavyhanded “separation of church and state” moral down your throat. Whether you agree with it or not, you’re going to be preached to in Footloose. But because the movie is obviously targeting teenage audiences – which it shouldn’t be doing because of it’s frequent teen drinking and sexually active teens – Footloose comes off as leftist propaganda targeting the future first-time voters of tomorrow. I’m hardly what you’d call a political person – I’ve only voted once and pay no attention to politics whatsoever – but even I made this connection.
There’s not a single redeeming factor to Footloose. Every aspect of filmmaking is attrocious. The script is boring. The actors are horrendous. Hough is painful to watch – especially when she smashes her face during emotional scenes as if trying to squeeze out tears, tears that never come and sure aren’t coming anytime soon. (Footloose made me smash my face too, but I was actually able to get tears out – tears of blood from the agony of having to sit through it.) Each bad actor plays an overdramatic, stereotypical characture – only with the inflection of reading cue cards. The terrible soundtrack mostly consists of modernized remakes of songs from the original soundtrack.
Footloose is trying so hard to be deemed cool by the teenagers of today that it never takes a moment to do anything of real merit. It’s like that guy who tries so hard to be cool that he comes across as annoying. He just might be cool, if only he’d stop trying – except, even if it stopped trying to be cool, Footloose would still be annoying.
If you want to check your watch every five minutes for two hours, see Footloose this weekend.