This is a remake of the 1984 film of the same name. The plot has been slightly updated but is not significantly different from the original.
Click here to see the rest of this review
Kenny Wormald is the lead in this film. He plays the character of Ren McCormack. Because his divorced mother dies and his father is missing, he leaves Boston to go to live with his Uncle Wes (played by Ray McKinnon) in the small town of Bomont, Georgia. Kenny experiences culture shock to the extreme because the preacher Reverend Shaw Moore (played Dennis Quaid) in Bomont has led the town to ban all forms of teenage partying, music, and dancing. This is because the preacher's son, with five other high school students, were all killed in a car accident years before, while driving drunk after leaving a party.
Kenny finds out very quickly that not only is partying illegal, but simply playing loud music while driving down an otherwise empty farm road is also illegal when he is pulled over by the local cops and given a ticket for playing his music in the car. It is hard for Kenny to believe this is local law and even harder for him to accept that everyone, including the teenagers, go along with it. The high school is not even allowed to have a prom.
Kenny goes to church and sees Ariel (played by Julianne Hough). She is the preacher's daughter and she is secretly wild. Kenny bumps into a hayseed cowboy in the halls at his high school, Willard (played by Miles Teller). They almost get into a fight, but choose to become friends instead. Willard tells Kenny all about what happened, with the car accident years before, and why the town banned music, partying and dancing. He also confesses that he does not know how to dance so Kenny takes up the challenge to secretly teach Willard how to dance.
Kenny sneaks off to an abandoned warehouse where he is free to blast his music and dance. He doesn't know this is the local teen secret hideout and is observed by Ariel while he is dancing and doing gymnastics. She surprises him with her sudden presence, then shows him a place where all the high school students have been able to paint graffiti and express themselves without fear of reprisals from their parents. This starts the romance between the two of them. But, Ariel has a boyfriend named Chuck (played by Patrick John Flueger) that is really jealous that Ariel is paying attention to Kenny. Chuck is a race car driver at the local track. Kenny must defeat him in a demolition race with old buses to convince Ariel that he is stronger than Chuck, which he does.
Kenny petitions the town council to removes the ban on dancing so that the high school can have a prom. But they refuse. Luckily Kenny works at a cotton gin on the border of Bomont that is not within the city limits but is in the next town called Basin so it is not illegal to hold the prom dance there. That where they have the dance and even Chuck and his gang are defeated when they try to disrupt the party leaving Kenny to dance with Ariel and the rest of the students.
Best part of story, including ending:
The most interesting part is the culture shock that Kenny experiences when he moves from Boston to the small southern town of Bomont.
Best scene in story:
When Kenny is secretly observed by Ariel while he is dancing and doing gymnastics in the abandoned warehouse. The routine and the expression of freedom it represents is fantastic.
Opinion about the main character:
Kenny holds his own against all the rednecks with their non-acceptance of him, bullying, and prejudice. It is very satisfying in the end when he triumphs.