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The Dancing Is Hotter In 'Footloose' 2011


Now, for many children of the 1980s, what we're going to talk about next is sacrilege: A new version of "Footloose" opens in theaters today, with no Kevin Bacon in sight.

Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan compares the old with the new.

KENNETH TURAN: As long as daughters pout when fathers proclaim: I don't want you to see that boy, "Footloose" will endure. As long as kids want to dance and Hollywood wants to profit from that passion, it will do more than endure. It will be remade.


TURAN: The new version of the 1984 epic about a small town that bans youthful dancing is not so much a remake as a renovation. In the great tradition of Los Angeles real estate, a venerable property has been modernized, refurbished, and tweaked when necessary to bring it in line with the demands of today's market


TURAN: That means that the clothes are tighter, the bodies more toned, the dancing hotter, the sexual context more obvious. But underneath it all still beats the shameless heart of a by-the-numbers diversion that acts as if these dots have never been connected before.


TURAN: Young Ren arrived in the small town of Bomont with his mom in the 1984 version. But the updated edition ups the emotional ante by bringing him in parentless, to live in the South with his aunt and uncle. The town's authority figures are soon up in arms about the youth's Yankee sarcasm, but he looks about as dangerous as pasteurized milk.



TURAN: Ren makes fast friends with local boy Willard. And once he settles down, he doesn't know what's harder to believe: that someone as attractive as preacher's daughter Ariel is in town, or that he's not allowed to dance with her.


TURAN: The old and new "Footloose" are so similar, entire scenes and lines of dialogue appear in both films. And iconic objects, like a yellow VW Bug, a maroon dinner jacket and fire-red cowboy boots - who doesn't remember those boots - reappear as if by magic to reassure the faithful that all is right with the world.

As hormones rage and familiar songs like "Footloose" and "Holding Out for a Hero" get an updated treatment, it's hard not to wonder what the next remake might be like. Will there be a next one? You can count on it.

INSKEEP: Got to stay faithful to the classics. Ken Turan reviews movies for the L.A. Times and for MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Kenneth Turan is the film critic for the Los Angeles Times and NPR's Morning Edition, as well as the director of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. He has been a staff writer for the Washington Post and TV Guide, and served as the Times' book review editor.