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John Lamb, Published October 11 2011

Lamb: Do we really need a ‘Footloose’ remake?

The remake of “Footloose” has me ready to “cut footloose” indeed.

Specifically, cut its Achilles tendon.

Why did a movie studio sink nearly $30 million into remaking a 27-year-old movie – though, it looks like they used pretty much the same script and choreography – that wasn’t very good to begin with?

The answer is simple. The studio, Paramount/MTV, doesn’t have to secure the rights to a new project and hopes teens, preteens and their senselessly nostalgic 40-something-year-old parents will spend money on a story of a teen outsider with uncombable hair who just wants to dance.

Isn’t that why they have Justin Bieber?

Well, allow this graying, cantankerous 40-year-old to put his foot down about the remake which opens in theaters Friday.

Why exactly am I so mad about re-animating something I never liked in the first place into something that looks so bad it won’t be in the theaters for four weeks?

Because someone is cashing in on my generation and exposing our weakness – we suffered through some really dumb movies and truly silly music.

Other movies have tapped into the audacious age of big bangs, popped collars, pegged pants, Walkmen and chaste teen rebellion. (Oh, how far kids have come in two decades.)

Those movies may have not had original themes or storylines, but they weren’t 100 percent recycled.

From the clips I’ve seen, the only things new about this “Footloose” is the inclusion of hip-hop, that iPods replace Walkmen and that the preacher’s daughter, Ariel, now played by Julianne Hough from “Dancing with the Stars,” is even trampier.

If Gus Van Sant’s scene-by-scene remake of “Psycho,” taught us a lesson – other than there is only so much Vince Vaughn we need to see – it’s simply, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

Or, in the case of “Footloose,” “If it didn’t work 27 years ago, don’t remake it.”

Does such a remake mean we can tweak Roger Ebert’s 1984 review of the original to include the current stars’ names? It’s more direct than the film, starting off, “ ‘Footloose’ is a seriously confused movie that tries to do three things, and does all of them badly.”

Knowing that Ebert is still writing, and with more vigor than ever, a new review from him stands to be the most engaging thing about this remake.

And that includes Blake Shelton’s take on the title track, which is less of a honky-tonk twist than just a honky quarter-turn.

Or former Pussycat Dolls dancer Kenny Wormald stepping into the lead role as dreamy teen Ren McCormack. Don’t worry about remembering the 27-year-old’s name because he only makes you miss Kevin Bacon.

In the movie’s pivotal scene, Wormald’s Ren makes an impassioned speech for his fellow students to have a prom.

“This is our time to live,” he says.

That may be, petulant teen boy, but get your own damn life.


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533