‘Footloose’: The Reviews Are In!

Critics can't help but compare the Kenny Wormald dance flick to Kevin Bacon's 1984 original.

Let’s dance! The remake of “Footloose” hit theaters on Friday (October 14), and the critics have weighed in. The dance flick revisits the 1984 original’s story about a teen (played by newcomer Ken Wormald) who moves to a conservative town that has outlawed dancing; the new kid shakes things up in more ways than one.

“Footloose” seems to be holding on with a 74 percent fresh rating at the review-aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes and, overall, the verdict is a resounding “better than we thought it would be.”

We rounded up a sampling of some of the reviews to give you an idea of what to expect if you decide to bust a move and hit the theater.

The Story
“After his mother dies, Boston kid Renn (Wormald) comes to live with his aunt (Kim Dickens) and uncle (Ray McKinnon) in Bomont, Ga., which three years before banned ‘vulgar, demeaning amplified music’ and ‘lewd and lascivious dancing’ in the wake of a car crash that killed five high-schoolers. One of the dead kids came from the family of Rev. Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid), his wife Vi (Andie MacDowell) and their daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough). The boy’s death has launched pretty Ariel into a territory somewhere between damaged and deranged. She stands on railroad tracks as a train speeds toward her, and flirts dangerously with surly local outlaw Chuck (Patrick Flueger), whose biker gang seems sanitized enough to be called Heck’s Angels. Ariel also comes on to Renn — who, though he sports a Back Bay accent and a greasy coif, isn’t that kind of boy.” — Richard Corliss, Time

The Leads
“Unlike Bacon, who had a double, Wormald does Ren’s angry dance himself in an abandoned warehouse. But Wormald is not the actor Bacon is. This crimps his chemistry with Hough, who has the indefinable spark that indicates star potential.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

The Direction
“If you remember the first ‘Footloose,’ you know more or less what happens, and you may find some of the alterations amusing. Instead of a game of chicken on tractors, for instance, there is a dirt-track race involving modified school buses. [Director Craig] Mr. Brewer films this lumbering action sequence, and several brawls and fights, with more verve and relish than he brings to the dance numbers, which are, in the age of ‘Glee,’ the ‘High School Musical’ movies and the mighty ‘Step Up’ franchise, woefully inadequate.” — A.O. Scott, The New York Times

The Remake
“There’s one thing to be said for a remake of a 1984 movie that uses the original’s screenplay. This 2011 version is so similar — sometimes song for song and line for line — that I was wickedly tempted to reprint my 1984 review, word for word. But That Would be Wrong. I think I could have gotten away with it, though. The movies differ in such tiny details (the hero now moves to Tennessee from Massachusetts, not Chicago) that few would have noticed.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

The Verdict
“The remake of ‘Footloose’ is sappy, squeaky clean and far-fetched. But thanks to the obvious love director and co-writer Craig Brewer has for the 1984 original, its heart is in the right place.” — Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic

Check out everything we’ve got on “Footloose.”

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