Us Rating: ***
Opens: Friday 10/14
Anyone who adores the 1984 classic -- or, gasp, has somehow missed it on cable -- should settle in for a surprise: The remake actually bursts with high-energy fun. Once again, street-smart teen Ren (Kenny Wormald) moves from the big city to a one-horse Southern town, where he learns council members have banned public dancing for the under-18 set.
As Ren fights to overturn the law, he falls for Ariel (Julianne Hough), the rebellious daughter of the reverend who helped pass it. OK, OK, the story has only grown mustier in 2011. But, come on, it's all about the music -- and this is where the drama soars. By paying homage to the vintage version (Ren teaching his bumpkin BFF, Willard, how to dance, set to "Let’s Hear It for the Boy," remains a joy), yet acknowledging the present (Ren now lets off steam in a warehouse to the White Stripes!), there's toe-tapping material to please all. As for Wormald? The newcomer can't quite match original star Kevin Bacon's magnetism, but he and dancing queen Hough share a raw chemistry. Let's hear it for them.