x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Footloose

The redo of this film that proved a hit in 1984 is an effortless, breezy blast of tween-friendly escapism.

Footloose
Director: Craig Brewer
Starring: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid and Miles Teller
***

Nostalgia for the trashy pop culture of yesteryear is a bizarre and unpredictable force. Released in 1984, the original Footloose was a critically derided teen drama that became a smash hit and enduring kitsch classic, later spawning a Broadway musical.

The fresh-faced screen novice Wormald, a former backing dancer for Justin Timberlake, steps into Kevin Bacon's shoes to star in this contemporary remake as a rebellious city boy who shakes up a rural backwater in America's Deep South, where rock music and dancing are banned. After falling for the local beauty (Hough), he leads the town's fun-starved teenagers in a revolt against their own censorious parents, teachers and preachers.

The director Brewer's sunny update has some of the wholesome, bouncy zing of the High School Musical series - indeed, Zac Efron was originally cast in Wormald's role, but dropped out. Brewer stays largely faithful to the 1984 screenplay, adding a few contemporary touches such as iPods and hip-hop on the soundtrack. Footloose is trite, corny and relentlessly bland, but still an effortless blast of tween-friendly escapism. It also balances two dull but essentially likeable stars with classy Hollywood veterans such as Quaid and Andie MacDowell. Lighter than candy floss but still a breezy, easy watch.

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