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October 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

There haven’t been a lot of musicals that have managed to succeed at the box office since the advent of MTV. An exception was 1984’s Footloose, and it’s back — with virtually the same script if not the original stars (Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer). In fact, Roger Ebert remarks in the Chicago Sun-Times, “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.” Apparently his original review was rather less than glowing, for he concludes this one by remarking that the film’s ultimate message is: “A bad movie, if faithfully remade, will produce another bad movie.” Nevertheless, the original Footloose was a whopping success — and several critics are predicting that this one will be, too. “Completely understanding that proven commercial formulas need not be tampered with, this new Footloose … stays remarkably close to its predecessor in all the ways that count,” writes Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. Several critics remark that the few tweaks to the story and remarkable dancing brilliance by the cast represent a significant improvement on the original. As Kyle Smith puts it in the New York Post, “The remake retains the strongest elements and improves on some of the weaker ones of 1984’s version.” But a number of critics emphasize that there really isn’t much of a difference between the two versions. Steven Rea remarks in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “As remakes go, Footloose is fine, serving up slightly fresher batches of cheese and corn. But why? Why?” Mick LaSalle has an answer to that question in the San Francisco Chronicle: “The truth is, the old vehicle needed a tune-up. If you were to watch the original right now, you’d be surprised at how a movie remembered in its day as a shot of adrenaline is actually rather languorous. And the dance scenes that seemed so exuberant a generation ago? They’re just OK.”