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Director Herbert Ross (The Turning Point) pulled a winning movie out of this almost self-consciously archetypal tale of teenage rock rebellion. Kevin Bacon stars as a hip city kid who ends up in a Bible-belt town after his parents divorce. An ill fit for a conservative community where rock is frowned upon and dancing is forbidden, Bacon's character rallies the kids and takes on the establishment. Between a good cast really embracing the drama of Dean Pitchford's screenplay, and Ross's imaginative, highly charged way of shooting the dance numbers, you can get lost in this all-ages confection, and you won't even mind Kenny Loggins's bubbly pop. Bonuses include one of John Lithgow's best performances (a bit reminiscent of Jimmy Stewart), and Christopher Penn as a good-natured hick who learns to boogie. --Tom Keogh
That Oscar-winning title song buzzes in your ears long after the movie has stopped. The attraction here is youthful spirit and a pulsating score, because the weak story is merely a conduit for the song-and-dance numbers. The plot is every young woman's daydream come true. Jennifer Beals holds down a macho job as a welder by day, but performs erotic dance numbers in a club at night. It's not a strip club, so her morality remains intact. She dates her wealthy boss (Michael Nouri) and practices hard for the day she can audition for the upscale, local dance school, even though she has no formal training. It is malarkey, of course, unless you view this as total romantic fantasy. It works because you are carried along by the sheer force of the energetic, boisterous, MTV-style imagery by director Adrian Lyne. Beals is a plus as the stubborn, pouty, somewhat eccentric young woman made all the more interesting for her driving ambition. In the end, she is aided by her Prince Charming, who arrives bearing favours. Mind you, this is not the same as a rescue, as Beals is one rather tough damsel who does just fine on her own. --Rochelle O'Gorman