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Reviews & Ratings for
Hairspray More at IMDbPro »

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campy fun with a good message

Author: SnoopyStyle
30 June 2015

It's 1960s Baltimore. Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake) and her best friend Penny Pingleton (Leslie Ann Powers) are obsessed with The Corny Collins Show and audition for the all-white local TV show. Blacks are relegated to Negro Day. Tracy becomes a hit infuriating queen bee Amber Von Tussle (Colleen Fitzpatrick) and her stage mom Velma (Debbie Harry). Amber's father Franklin Von Tussle (Sonny Bono) owns Tilted Acres amusement park. Tracy befriends the black students in school and record store owner Motormouth Maybelle. She starts dating Maybelle's son Seaweed and joins an effort to integrate the show.

It's campy fun. John Waters keeps his weird indie extravagances in check to bring something a little more mainstream. He dives into issues that are near and dear to his heart. The deliberate corn is endearing although it could use more outright laughs. This is a really sincere and touching movie. The actors led by Ricki Lake are mostly good.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good Laughs

Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
28 February 2008

Hairspray (1988)

*** (out of 4)

An overweight teen (Ricky Lake) must battle a skinny teen to win a local TV dance show as well as teach people that integration is a good thing. I've been wanting to see this film for quite some time now and while I found the film to be entertaining I think Waters scored better with Cry-Baby when it comes to his throwbacks to the 60s. There's a lot of great stuff here including Waters ability to make the film feel like the 1960s and the performances are all very good. I'm not a fan of Lake but she steals the show as the teen with a heart to do whatever she wants. Sonny Bono is also good in his role as is Divine as Lake's mother. All the stuff dealing with integration is handled very well, although I think it takes away from Lake's story so I think it should have been cut back some or it should have played a part in the film from the very start.

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From the fun Corny Collins Show, to Just Plain Corny

Author: julzie61295
1 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Personally, some parts of this movie have left me laughing to death. And these weren't the "meant to be funny" parts. This version of Hairspray is definitely cheesy. However, it was alright. When I saw this movie for the first time on ABC Family, I was really excited. Then, as it began, I was getting the feeling the whole movie would be filled with cheesy jokes and corny acting.

***Spoilers begin here***

The scene where Penny and Tracy are watching the "Cory Collins Show" to the time where Penny said "I'm always punished," was where the worst acting took place. The rest of the movie was pretty good, except for the parts where Tracy and her classmates where playing dodge ball, and when the riot broke out at Tilted Acres.

All in all, I gave Hairspray a 6/10 for alright acting, good dancing, good laughs and corny (so to speak) moments.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A guilty pleasure that I'm sure will become your's as well when you see it

Author: Kristine ( from Chicago, Illinois
4 February 2007

I heard a little bit about Hairspray, kinda like maybe it was an underground classic, some have heard of it, some haven't, but I just watched it over the weekend to find to surprise that it was directed by John Waters and starred Divine, I just recently viewed ...sigh... Pink Flamingos, so I had no idea as to what to expect from this movie. But I'd have to say it was a real pleasure to watch, as silly of a story as it was, it worked. In today's world, big girls are not really as well excepted, Ricki Lake took on that role as Tracy and made it OK to be big and beautiful.

She plays Tracy Turnbird, a plump teenage girl who is a huge fan of a dance show called the Corny Collins show, she and her friend go onto the show and Tracy quickly jumps in to become one of the favorite dancers, in fact even more popular than her thinner rivals. But Tracy wins everyone's heart including her family and the love of the public as she goes to prove that big girls don't cry... that and you can never have hair that doesn't stand up high enough... you'll get that when you see the movie.

Hairspray is a good movie, it had decent acting and a cute story that I'm sure that anyone could enjoy. So please do give it a look, I'm sure I'll see it again down the road, I told my friends about it and they are actually interested in seeing it, so goes to show you that the film might be still remembered for a few more decades to come, especially since it's being remade I just noticed, oi, Hollywood, can't you come up with something original?


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Plus Size Ricky

Author: dunbare from United States
20 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hairspray is a wonderful John Waters quirk fest about racial equality, music, fat vs skinny and weird inhabitants in Baltimore!


Ricky Lake pre "go Ricky, go Ricky" plays Tracy Turnblad a fat...OK pleasantly plump teenager who wants to be a featured dancer on the COrny Collins show. Tracy the outgoing sweetheart and heroine to fat girls everywhere is mocked for her girth and her big hair. In school after her hair causes a commotion in class she is sent to special ed where we learn the racist piece of garbage principal puts "the black kids he wants to hold back." Here is where Tracy meets Seaweed the smooth black kid who sets Tracy's shy blond sidekick Penny Pingletons (Leslie ann Powers) heart a flutter! Seaweed is also son to the awesome Motormouh Maybelle((love all the names of the characters!). Motormouth Maybelle0(Ruth Brown) hosts the oh so politically incorrect "Negro day" dance show (This film is set in the racial tension of the 60's), and wishes to have equality in the dance show.

I always liked the friendship between Tracy and Penny. Penny is blond, skinny and way to overprotected by her looney of a mother. Tracy in turn falls for the super dreamy Link Larkin. Michael St. Gerard plays Link who looks so much like a very young Elvis Presley. Link is dating the resident rich, skinny, bitch Amber Von Tussle(ColleenFitzpatrick). Amber and Tracy have an ongoing feud as Amber does not want the popular Tracy to steal her thunder after all, she is "too fat" as Amber puts it to be on Corny Collins.

Now the parents of heroine Tracy are Edna and Wlbur Turnblad. Edna is played by the wonderful Divine who is critical of Tracy's weight, even though Edna herself is no thin pin. Sensitive Wilbur is played by Jerry Stiller (Bens dad) who thinks his daughter is beautiful. Amber also has equally kooky parents Debra Harry plays Velma Von Tussle like every stereotypical trophy wife who spoils her daughter. Sonny Bono plays the equally idiotic Franklin von Tussell.

My favorite think about this movie are all the quirky characters. I hear it is being remade into a musical, but i'm sorry it cannot top this JOhn Waters gem. A hilarious movie worth every moment.

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Author: dltsplace (
7 September 2001

I love the Movie.. But particular love Leslie Ann Powers as Penny Pingleton.. Although I guess I have a bit of a bias, because everyone tells me im a dead Ringer for her.. and truthfully I never saw anyone that looked that much like me, not even relitives..... I wish there was more information on her.. she was a big part of the movie.. Yet in reviews, I hardly see her name mentioned.. why is this? id be curious to know more about her, what shes doing with her life now, ext.... I wonder if Riki Lake still has contact with her....Also, I wish I could find a poster of her, or at least with her in it...shes seldomly mentioned, yet in my opinion the movie wouldnt have been the same at all without old was she in that movie? how old is she now?

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Guilty Pleasure

Author: smohokei from Newfoundland, Canada
21 February 2001

It's sad to admit this, but this is my all time favorite movie ever. I think it's great. Sure it's very cheesy, but who cannot say this isn't a good movie. I watch it over and over again and never get sick of it. It's been my favorite move now for 10 years. I know all of the dialogue and the movie scene by scene. Hey, everyone has their guilty pleasures and this movie is mine :)

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Author: hbnpb from California
12 October 2000

This is one of the better films in support of the underdog. Not only does it touch on issues about heavyset people, but takes on the irrationality that pervaded the US during the 60's with it's polarized racist mentality; basically it puts ignorant bigotry on display. The hope of this film is to be a timepiece, not a continued commentary on society. Excellent casting.

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My Favourite Film of all time

Author: Jamie ( from England
20 September 2000

Fun filled 88min Gem. John waters best film i have seen. Tracy Turnblad Fat teen turned star battles the bitchy Amber von tussel for the auto show crown. Standout performances by Debbie Harry, Ricki Lake and Divine. Fantastic !!!!!!!1

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One of my guiltiest pleasures....

Author: scoobyg69
15 March 2000

The first time I watched this, I thought it was SO weird. I couldn't believe I was actually watching this, but yet I was not able to turn it off. After I returned the film to the video store, I found myself three days later talking about it with my mother and suddenly, THEN I started laughing. I was compelled to rent it again, and view it a second time. Immediately I was hooked. It took me three days to understand John Water's dark humor, but once I got it, I LOVED IT! "HAIRSPRAY" has since become one of my favorite movies. Ricky Lake hit fame with this mainstream hit, proving to the world that "BIG IS BEAUTIFUL."

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