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'Footloose': What the Critics Are Saying

Footloose
Paramount Pictures

One calls it a "better, more colorful" film than the original, while another says it "never finds its rhythm."

The remake of the 1984 Footloose, which will open in theaters on Friday, has been receiving mixed reviews from critics so far. Many praise the talent of the two stars, Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough, who have both been professional dancers, but note that they lack the charisma of the original stars, Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer.

Many critics express disappointment with the way the dancing scenes were shot Craig Brewer’s (Black Snake Moan) remake, but also point out that they feel the film improves over the original.

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“It's startling how badly the dance numbers and action sequences are staged, shot and cut,” wrote Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter. “The visual clumsiness does not disguise that Wormald (a professional dancer since extreme youth), especially, but the others too, are very good dancers.”

“The new film may also serve a purpose by showcasing a dynamic and attractive new actor, Kenny Wormald but, otherwise, this is a by-the-numbers affair that generates rote sympathy for hormonally-charged high schoolers busting out of their jeans to find a way to express themselves in a repressive small Southern town,” wrote McCarthy.

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“But to be effective, a pop confection like this needs just the right mix of silliness and sincerity, so that you believe both that a lot is at stake in the battle over dancing and that, in the end, it’s really just dancing,” writes The New York Times’ A.O. Scott.  “Somehow Footloose never finds its rhythm.”

“Apart from the inevitable ’80s-throwback and popped-up hip-hop tracks, the music in this Footloose is better and more eclectic than the original, with some blues, country and vintage metal mixed in with the peppy dance tunes,” adds Scott.

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“The two versions of Footloose are ultimately a tale of casting,” wrote The AP’s Jake Coyle. “In the original, a thoroughly likeable ensemble created a cheesy kind of movie magic out of paltry, laughable material. Brewer has made a better, more colorful film, but his cast isn't nearly as memorable.”

“The performances are a paler shade of the original, and there's considerably less chemistry to go around,” wrote Coyle.

“It’s a corny story, and just as dated as it was when it first came around 27 years ago,” wrote Roger Moore at The Orlando Sentinel. “Some scenes such as the bus race feel out of place, shoehorned in. The whole Ariel’s-jealous-boyfriend element fails to ignite. But the dance scenes are more fun and Hough gives it a sexy, sassy edge, all by herself .”