Classic tale of teen rebellion and repression features a delightful combination of dance choreography and realistic and touching performances. When teenager Ren and his family move from big-city Chicago to a small town in the West, he’s in for a real case of culture shock. Though he tries hard to fit in, the streetwise Ren can’t quite believe he’s living in a place where rock music and dancing are illegal. There is one small pleasure, however: Ariel, a troubled but lovely blonde with a jealous boyfriend. and a Bible-thumping minister, who is responsible for keeping the town dance-free. Ren and his classmates want to do away with this ordinance, especially since the senior prom is around the corner, but only Ren has the courage to initiate a battle to abolish the outmoded ban and revitalize the spirit of the repressed townspeople. Fast-paced drama is filled with such now-famous hit songs as the title track and “Let’s Hear It for the Boy.” —IMDb
American director/choreographer Herbert Ross divided his time between Broadway and the American Ballet Theatre in the 1950s and 1960s. Ross also choreographed numerous live television programs, and handled the dance sequences of such films as Carmen Jones (1954), Inside Daisy Clover (1963) and Dr. Doollittle (1967). His first screen directorial job was Goodbye Mr. Chips, an overblown 1969 remake of a well-regarded 1939 MGM feature. Ross’ subsequent cinema reputation rested on his ability to transfer popular stage plays to the screen, as witness The Owl and The Pussycat (1970), The Sunshine Boys (1975) and California Suite (1978). While he was expert in cinematizing the plays of Neil Simon, Ross was critcally lambasted for his conformist approach to Woody Allen’s Play it Again Sam (1972), though this film was one of Allen’s biggest moneymakers. Ross also directed a brace of Neil Simon screenplays, The Goodbye Girl (1977) (which won an Oscar for star Richard Dreyfuss) and Max Dugan Returns… read more
This is a film that doesn't age very well at all, and the choice to remake it for modern audiences is one of the most questionable moves in years. Teens nowadays will question its message and existence. This isn't a horrible film, and I was entertained for decent-sized stretches, but ultimately, it's dated, corny, and confused as a whole. It can't decide what it wants to do or how it wants to approach the issue.