Remake lacks luster of Bacon


There are many negative phenomena that came out of the 1980s: the spread of AIDS, the Republican obsession with President Ronald Reagan and scrunchies. What the ‘80s did produce, however, was a slew of teen movies that achieved the perfect amount of teen angst and fast feet.

Why, then, would we try and remake perfection? “Dirty Dancing,” “Fame” and “Hairspray” are all dance-heavy movies that should have been left in the ‘80s, except for the occasional DVD purchase.

Instead, however, Patrick Swayze channeling Regis Philbin’s tan revisited the art of dirty dance in “Havana Nights.” Zac Efron’s center forehead hair curl comes off more creepy than suave in the 2006 remake of “Hairspray.” The other movies, as well, have remakes that fall flat.

The recent remake of the film “Footloose” is no exception to this. While I left the theater amped to groove my thang down at the Rasputin’s dance floor, my excitement was generated by my love for the first film.

The new film kept the heart and soul of the film. There are no major structural changes to the storyline. The changes that were made, however, fail to update the storyline in a positive way.

A quintessential scene in the original film is when the protagonist Ren proves himself to his female counterpart Ariel.  The original film’s tense game of “chicken” with tractors was replaced with racing school buses decorated with beanie babies and painted flames.  

Even worse, the makers of the new film make you think that you are going to see another close tractor fake-out scene.  Instead, a character hops on a tractor, rides it about 50 feet, then reveals the bus racing scenario. The scene leaves you feeling tricked and sorely disappointed.

The main characters are played by dancers rather than actors. Ren is played by Kenny Wormald, whose defining role is his character in the remake of “Center Stage,” “Center Stage: ‘Turn it Up.'”  

The dance monologue of this remake junkie pales in comparison to the warehouse rage-fest that was previously danced by Kevin Bacon.The dancing and music that was fitting for the ‘80s feels anachronistic in the 2011 setting of the remake.

The character Ariel is played by a professional dancer rather than actress as well. Julianne Hough hails from a little-known show called “Dancing With the Stars.”

The remade character of former high school jock Chuck made me wonder why there was a 30-year-old man with unfortunate facial hair undressing a high school girl.  That scenario sounds familiar.  What is it again? Oh, yes, statutory rape. 

The one positive addition of character to the movie was Ren’s uncle. In the original film, the uncle is a negative incarnation of town-wide intolerance. In the remake, however, he is the comic relief in the film, restoring the audience’s faith that pervasive prejudice does not conquer all.

Viewers of the new “Footloose” will ultimately leave the theater longing for the original storyline and actors, with similar feelings to LFO: “I like Kevin Bacon, but I hate Footloose.”