'Pleasantly Plump' teenager Tracy Turnblad achieves her dream of becoming a regular on the Corny Collins Dance Show. Now a teen hero, she starts using her fame to speak out for the causes she believes in, most of all integration. In doing so, she earns the wrath of the show's former star, Amber Von Tussle, as well as Amber's manipulative, pro-segregation parents. The rivalry comes to a head as Amber and Tracy vie for the title of Miss Auto Show 1963. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
John Waters reveals a somewhat more sentimental side with "Hairspray", a movie several people have told me they absolutely hated. I wondered what it was about Waters' style as a filmmaker that could provoke such anger? I think it's his affection for '60s movie-clichés transposed through nostalgia and Waters' own gross-out sensibilities (and his particular brand of humor, which can be quite wicked). I didn't much care for the film the first time I saw it, but I gave it a second chance and it grew on me. The reckless amateurishness is off-putting at first, but you have to meet "Hairspray" halfway. There is much to enjoy here, not the least of which is Divine as Ricki Lake's mom (and also as a bigoted network bigwig); wheeling and dealing after her daughter finds TV fame, Divine becomes a coiffed society queen, twisting away in front of the television and tossing off jaded quips like, "It's the times...they're a-changin'." The performances are all happily hammy, colorful and amusing, and the lightweight story comfortably shoehorns-in relevant political issues to counterbalance the slapstick. Ricki Lake is very appealing in her debut; also hilarious, Pia Zadora as a beatnik and Debbie Harry as the mother of Lake's main rival ("1-2-cha-cha-CHA, 1-2-cha-cha-CHA!"). It's not a seamless, polished picture, but it does have heart and charm and this sold me--but on the second time around. *** from ****
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