updated 10/14/2011 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 10/14/2011 AT 1:15 PM ET
How can something so pointless be so much fun?
This update of the ‘84 teen classic that gifted us with Kevin Bacon and a killer soundtrack has slicker dance moves but keeps the original’s infectious spirit.
Big-screen newcomers Keny Wormald and Julianne Hough are compelling as Ren and Ariel, the rebel outsider and the minister’s kid in a small town that outlaws rock music and dancing. She’s the better actor, delivering in Ariel’s tense standoffs with her dad, Rev. Moore (Dennis Quaid).
But they’re both pro hoofers, so the dance scenes are fantastic, with everything from country line-dancing to krumping.
It’s what hasn’t changed between versions that falls flat: Ren’s hokey angry solo dance, Ariel’s wild ways and that anachronistic dance ban. In fact the new film is so slavish to the original it feels like cinematic karaoke.
But when the music gets going, I dare you not to cut loose.
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