After his mother dies, Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) leaves Boston, Massachusetts and moves to Bomont, in the bible belt of Georgia, where the population is a modest 19,300. Since a car accident three years earlier when five teenagers were killed, loud music and sexy dancing have been banned, much to Reverend Shaw Moore's (Dennis Quaid) approval. He and his wife Vi (Andie MacDowell) are keeping a close watch on their rebellious daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough), who has been flaunting herself to the rough, tough Chuck Cranston (Patrick John Flueger). As Ren's rebellious spirit shakes up the locals, there's an instant attraction when Ren meets Ariel.
Review by Louise Keller:
Foot-tapping fun, sexy dancing, romance and making changes are the mainstays of this likeable, high energy remake of the 1984 classic that launched Kevin Bacon as a teen icon. This time around it's Kenny Wormald in the lead role as Ren McCormack, the Boston teenager who moves to the tiny community of Bomont where dancing and loud music are banned, following a fatal car crash. The object of his affection is Ariel (Hough, reminiscent of a young Jennifer Aniston), who behaves most unlike a preacher's daughter.
Director Craig Brewer has reworked the script with Dean Pitchford, who penned the original screenplay and wrote the lyrics for the infectious title song. While the story may be predictable and formulaic, the film is nicely done with plenty of sparks between the two attractive leads as they find themselves - and each other, amid obstacles and raunchy choreography.
The story starts in earnest when Ren (Wormald) makes his home with his Uncle Wes (Ray McKinnon), following his mother's death. After church, Reverend Shaw Moore (Quaid) is quick to introduce Ren to his rebellious daughter, but his enthusiasm wanes when Ren too, is seen as a rebel. He is reprimanded for playing loud music and is swept along in a provocative dancing display in which he shows his finesse and acrobatic prowess.
There's a love triangle involving Ariel's unsuitable tough-guy boyfriend Chuck (Flueger); and an appealing side plot in which Ren's best friend Willard (Miles Teller), who starts off with two left feet, learns to dance to please his girlfriend Rusty (Ziah Colon), played by Sarah Jessica Parker in the original film.
Boots, sneakers and shoes tap, flex and rumble to the beat of the music and there's a contagious joie de vivre in this fresh, energetic and vibrant dance film that reinforces life to the fullest.
Published first in the Sun-Herald
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CAST: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid, Ziah Colon, Ray McKinnon, Miles Teller, SerDarius William Blain, Andie MacDowell
PRODUCER: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Neil Meron, Dylan Sellers, Brad Weston, Craig Zadan
DIRECTOR: Craig Brewer
SCRIPT: Craig Brewer, Dean Pitchford
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Amy Vincent
EDITOR: Billy Fox
MUSIC: Deborah Lurie
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jon Gary Steele
RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 6, 2011