Directed by Craig Brewer
Written by Dean Pitchford and Craig Brewer

Why, yes, TarsTarkas.NET did get into another free screening, thanks for asking. Footloose is the first screening where we were given instructions that we were required to mention we went for free. As that’s part of the running joke about how TarsTarkas.NET sold out, that isn’t a problem. So are we still sold out? Read on, dear readers…

Standing in line waiting to get into the theater to see Footloose, something happened. My foot began to be loose! Was that budding excitement for going to see the movie? Nope, just a shoelace that came undone. In addition, the official Paramount film crew was there to tape people for commercials, causing us to feign excitement that we’re waiting to see Footloose. We were convincing enough the operator only had to redo filming several times!

Finally, we were let into the theater. Did you know that giving away free stuff is the most effective way to sway opinion to your side? And that food is the most effectively used free stuff? In totally unrelated news, there was a bunch of free swag on our chairs! We got a cup, a bag of candy, and an issue of Footloose Magazine! Finally, something to put next to my issues of Highlights and Tiger Beat! As for the candy, my wife got Smarties and a Butterfinger, and I got some weird colored circle disks. Lame. Strike 1, Footloose! I just stole another candy bag from one of the many empty seats, and got my Butterfinger. There was also a dance contest where they filmed a few people dancing to put up on the official Footloose website so you could vote for a winner to go to the premier in LA. The movie stars were supposed to be there as a surprise, but they were stuck in Phoenix due to plane delays. Strike 2, Footloose! Below I’ve put a photo of all the swag:

None of this could possibly influence me. Mostly because it wasn’t enough of a bribe! If I’m selling out, I’m going to demand top dollar! TWO Butterfingers!

“This movie is about being a little punk rock and bucking the system” says a designer in the free Footloose Magazine handed out right next to their $149.99 designer shoes from the Footloose movie.

The Footloose remake follows the original film closely. Very closely. So closely it eliminates one of the reasons to remake a film: to give a different take on the story. The names are the same, the plot is the same, the events that happen are the same, many of the clothes are the same (yes, ladies, they kept the red boots!) The opening sequence with the feet is the same, at least three of the songs are the same (probably more, I forgot to take count!) Director Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) even filmed a speech before the film saying how he wanted to respect the original, they got original scribe Dean Pitchford to help write this new version, and the Footloose magazine is filled with people talking about the original film along with the new. I think the fear of being too different may have stifled their creativity, while remaining true to the original probably helped more than it hurt. It is a weird dichotomy that we’ll try to break down more below.

There are a few differences. Ren is more angsty, his mom is dead now (from cancer), the setting is now the deep south and you know it. The tractor race is dumped in place of a school bus roller derby race. Yes. That’s where the buses explode.

But forget all that, what people want to know is, is Footloose 2011 any good? And my answer is: sort of. There are a lot of problems, but it isn’t horrific. It’s perfectly adequate. I can see young kids today liking it just as much as we did as kids. But in a world of High School Musicals and Glee, I’m not seeing this resonate with the same music vibe.

Let’s meet the cast, then jump into the story

Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) – The new kid from the East Coast who is now stuck in the smalltown south after his mother’s death. Almost instantly runs afoul of the antifun laws, and leads a revolt against them. The authority figures don’t like him much, but as authority figures are jerks, who cares!
Ariel Moore (Julianne Hough) – Good girl gone bad in rebellion against her father after the death of her brother and the institution of new regressive laws. Ariel Julianne Hough was on dancing with the stars for several years and grew up near where the original Footloose was filmed in Utah.
Reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) – Father of a boy who died in an alcohol and dance fueled accident and acting patriarch for the entire town. Reverend Moore has a lot of worries, including his rebellious daughter. And then this new kid comes into town. Freakin’ new kids! Rev. Moore is presented more calm and Dennis Quaidy in this version of Footloose, which helps give his character a different light. You can see his pain and struggles, it is a good performance and the best acting in the show. His wife Vi is played by Andie MacDowell.
Rusty Rodriguez (Ziah Colon) – Ariel’s best friend since childhood, who is saddened that her friend has spiraled out of control after her brother died. Ziah Colon is a delight, and would be the best part of the film if it wasn’t for…
Willard (Miles Teller) – Willard is the character you will be bring up as you and your friends leave the theater and you awkwardly press to see if they liked the film or not, as Willard is easily the best part and is a safe jumping off point. He befriends Ren as soon as he comes to town and needs to be taught to dance like the original Willard (Chris Penn). Ziah Colon is like they took Shia LaBeouf and turned everything that makes Shia annoying into awesomeness.

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