C.K. Dexter-Haven, a successful popular jazz musician, lives in a mansion near his ex-wife's Tracy Lord's family estate. She is on the verge of marrying a man blander and safer than Dex, ... See full summary »
Tracy Turnblad, an overweight teenager with all the right moves, is obsessed with the Corny Collins Show. Every day after school, she and her best friend Penny run home to watch the show and drool over the hot Link Larkin, much to Tracy's mother Edna's dismay. After one of the stars of the show leaves, Corny Collins holds auditions to see who will be the next person on the Corny Collins show. With all of the help of her friend Seaweed, Tracy makes it on the show, angering the evil dance queen Amber Von Tussle and her mother Velma. Tracy then decides that it's not fair that the black kids can only dance on the Corny Collins Show once a month, and with the help of Seaweed, Link, Penny, Motormouth Maybelle, her father and Edna, she's going to integrate the show.....without denting her 'do! Written by
The creative team modified several songs from the Original Broadway production, removed others, and added some new songs. "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now", a number performed in the stage musical by Tracy, Penny, and Amber opposite their respective mothers, was reluctantly cut from the script during pre-production - but was sung over the credits by all three "original" Tracys (Ricki Lake, Marissa Jaret Winokur, and Nikki Blonsky). While the crew liked the song, screenwriter Leslie Dixon felt the number did not adequately advance the plot, and would also be impossible to film without a three-way split screen, which neither she nor director Adam Shankman wanted to use. "It Takes Two", sung in the stage musical by Link to Tracy during her first day on "The Corny Collins Show", was moved to an earlier scene in the film; Link sings it just before Tracy learns that the TV station will be holding auditions for a new Council Member. However, only the song's coda remains in the final release. "Cooties", performed by Amber at the climactic "Miss Teenage Hairspray" pageant in the stage musical, is an instrumental during the pageant contestants' dance-off. "Mama" and "It Takes Two" are also instrumentals during scenes featuring broadcasts of "The Corny Collins Show". A reprise of "Big, Blond, and Beautiful", sung by Velma and Edna, was added to the film as part of a new subplot involving Velma Von Tussle's attempt to seduce Tracy's father Wilbur. "I Can Wait", a climactic ballad written for the film, was to have been performed by Tracy as she is hiding out in Penny's basement. The sequence was cut from the final release print. "The New Girl in Town" was written for the stage musical, dropped during the workshopping stage, resurrected, and used in this film to underscore Tracy's rise-to-fame montage, and to show "The Corny Collins Show" on Negro Day. "Ladies' Choice", performed by Link at a school dance, was added to replace "The Madison", a dance number carried over into the stage musical from Hairspray (1988). "Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)" was written for the film for use during the closing credits. See more »
In "Miss Baltimore Crabs" There is a man with a clipboard standing in the background and he disappears from shot to shot. In the same number Penny moves closer and farther away from the group of girls auditioning. See more »
Oh, oh, oh, woke up today, feeling the way I always do. Oh, oh, oh, hungry for something that I can't eat. Then I hear that beat. That rhythm of town starts calling me down. It's like a message from high above. Oh, oh, oh, pulling me out to the smiles and the streets that I love. Good morning, Baltimore!
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Viciously satirical, deeply irreverent and wonderfully fun!
Had it not been for a free pass to an advance screening, I must admit that my friends would have had trouble getting me to see 'Hairspray.' I don't mind musicals but 'Hairspray' didn't seem like something I'd enjoy. Not for the first time in my life was I wrong.
'Hairpsray' is about tolerance, integration and acceptance of others. The film uses the racial divide between blacks and whites but the subtext of the film is Heterosexuals and Homosexuals. 'Hairspray' viciously lampoons bigots and reserves specific devastation for Ultra-conservative religious zealots, figures of authority and WASPs. The satire is white hot (Alison Janney steals every scene she is in), the music catchy, the movie's spirit is irreverent.
I had no problems with the cast and their performances. John Travolta isn't bad and when he gets his chances to dance he's great fun. Christopher Walken and Travolta have a song and dance number duet that rates among the best moments of the film and isn't to be missed. Queen Latifah adds some dignity and balance while Michelle Pfeiffer plays a terrific screen villainess. Amanda Bynes has few lines to deliver but gives perfect comic deadpan when she does for excellent comic effect. Keep a sharp eye out for the hilarious John Waters cameo during the opening number.
Of recent major movie musicals, this is easily better than 'The Producers,' (better comedy and music) and last year's 'Dreamgirls' (weaker songs but better pacing and strong beyond the first half). Although it doesn't have the star power or scale, I also prefer it to 'Chicago' -- 'Hairspray' takes itself less seriously and not many movies have me laughing and smiling from start to finish. If you're looking for a little pure counter-culture escapist fun, 'Hairpsray' is your movie.
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