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Great, cheesy fun!
newma_nbway16 July 2007
Obviously a big-budget, flashy musical remake of a John Waters film is never going to be as subversive or as comically edgy as its predecessors, but one of the good things about HAIRSPRAY is that it never intends to be. It fully embraces the cheesy, over-the-top aspect of a movie musical from frame one, a trait that most other current films of its type try to avoid. In a welcome change from the summer drudgery of explosions and CGI, this film is a pure feel-good crowd pleaser where excitement and energy rise above all.

Everyone in the cast gives able performances; even Travolta who, in drag and a fat suit, seems at first off-putting, beginning a one-joke "hey I'm a man in a dress!" performance, quickly grows into his own as Edna does, becoming the most crowd-pleasing character by the film's end. It's a pleasure to see a former GREASE-r returning to what made him famous, but Travolta proves surprisingly agile in the comedy department, especially during his song and dance numbers.

The real enjoyment here, however, and the truly great performances are given by the younger members of the cast. Every single teenager in the film, from the leads to the chorus boy in the back of the room are injected with an unshakable, undeniable energy that reaches through the screen and captivates the viewer. This rings true especially for the film's two major finds: newcomers Nikki Blonsky and Elijah Kelly. Both of them have that instant star quality, a charisma and charm that make them instantly likable. Kelly displays simply astounding singing and dancing skills, while Blonsky easily carries the entire film of her shoulders, becoming the heart and soul of the movie with one hip thrust.

HAIRSPRAY has nothing much to offer besides two hours of entertainment and escapism, but it offers it in spades. It is a pure joy to watch from beginning to end and a welcome change of pace from the big-budget action film that surround its release. Yes, it's a musical and yes, it's over-the-top, but the audience is sold on that point from the first moment Tracy opens her mouth and the audience cannot help but be sucked in.
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Waterish Fun
marcosaguado21 July 2007
Not that I'm surprised that I liked it but yes that I liked it as much as I did. Keeping some of the lovely John Water garishness but mainstreaming it enough to make it mainstream. John Travolta in the Divine part is truly divine. He went for it and played it for real. I thought it was actually moving at times and the illusion works, beautifully. Michelle Pfeiffer opening a new chapter in her career, the thin as a rail, gorgeous, middle age bitch. Great fun to watch. Christopher Walken, adorable. I had hoped a bigger splash of a dance number between Travolta and Walken - after all they were playing husband and wife in a musical and when are we going to see that again. Their moments together are, how can I put it? Nice, very nice. Nikki Blonsky inherits Riki Lake's oversize heroine with gusto and lots of energy. Allison Jenney, as usual, steals every moment she's in. Alas, far too few, and John Waters plays a quick cameo as a Baltimore flasher. What else do you want out of life.
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Viciously satirical, deeply irreverent and wonderfully fun!
A_Roode14 July 2007
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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The Ultimate Feel Good Film!
klme16 July 2007
I just saw Hairspray the movie at the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle--the same theater where Hairspray the musical premiered five years ago. It could be that I am just dizzied by the dashing good looks of Zac Efron, but the magic that was produced on stage by the original Hairspray cast has transfered flawlessly to the big screen.

I couldn't have asked for more. Nikki Blonsky premiered beautifully as the spunky and voluptuous Tracy Turnblad. John Travolta delivered. Christopher Walken was charming and hilarious. Queen Latifah was "big, black, and beautiful." Michelle Pfeiffer--perfectly obnoxious...the list goes on.

The candy colored costumes and thrilling choreography were so enjoyable, and even the more serious parts of the film (though there are very few!) were touching and sincere.

The only thing I wished had been included was the song "Mama I'm a Big Girl Now." While it would have been a great addition, other big song and dance numbers carried the film along just fine.

I caught myself smiling like a buffoon more than once. A must see for musical lovers--or anyone who just likes to have a good time.
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scmovieguy26 June 2007
As a fan of the stage musical, I was worried that the film might not measure up - but they hit this one out of the ballpark! Bright, bouncy and joyously hilarious! A big smile hit my face as soon as it started and I didn't stop grinning until the end of the credits.

I haven't heard a press screening audience applaud after musical numbers since "Chicago" - and they cheered! The huge cast is uniformly terrific. Travolta, Pfeiffer and Walken are a hoot and Nikki Blonsky couldn't be more perfect.

The performances, script, lyrics, sight gags and costumes wage an all-out assault on your funny bone. Even the set dressing gets laughs!

This is the movie musical that Grease, Rent and Dreamgirls should have been.

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Brings Joy to Summer....
wkup22 June 2007
So far I've seen this movie twice and both times the audience was involved 100%. "Hairspray: The Musical" is the definition of a feel good movie.

The storyline has been tweeked a bit from the original film. Whereas the original film had Sonny Bono's Franklin Von Tussle as the main antagonist, this one has Velma Von Tussle (Michelle Phieffer) as the head adversary; now seen as the station manager for the TV station airing The Corny Collins Show. Velma's goal is to ensure that her daughter, Amber stays Miss Hairspray in the face of the rising success of Tracy Turnblad (played wonderfully by Nikki Blonsky).

The musical numbers are fantastic, and while there's less of an emphasis on the dancing which was a big part of the original film, it doesn't detract from the wonder of the musical sequences.

Other differences is the take on the individual characters. Whereas Ricki Lake's Tracy was brash and confident, Blonsky's Tracy is more subdued. John Travolta, as Edna gives the character the sensitivity that wasn't evident in Divine's portrayal.

Although still done in connection with John Waters, it does lack Waters edginess, making an already mainstream Waters film even more mainstream for family audiences. However, the cast and the direction more than makes up for this.
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New Musical HAIRSPRAY is Fab, Full-Figured Fun!
My family and I saw the movie version of the Broadway musical adaptation of John Waters' 1988 comedy HAIRSPRAY on its opening weekend. It's unanimous: this HAIRSPRAY is a big, bright, joyful 1960s song-and-dance extravaganza, and we all urge you to run out and see it right this minute! Go ahead, I'll wait right here... :-) My little girl loves music and dancing, but she still tends to like animated films better than live-action films, so when she got into HAIRSPRAY from the start, dancing joyfully in her seat to the Phil Spector-style opening number, "Good Morning, Baltimore," I knew this movie was truly something special. Lest you think this HAIRSPRAY has forgotten its roots, the opening number also features Waters in a hilarious cameo as a flasher. Also, watch for Ricki Lake, the original HAIRSPRAY's original Tracy, as a talent agent in the climactic "Miss Hairspray" sequence, as well as Jerry Stiller, Tracy's dad in the original, playing The Hefty Hideaway's head honcho. HAIRSPRAY is the kind of movie musical that GREASE should have been back in the 1970s (yes, it was a huge box-office hit, but I always thought it had a cold, calculating air to it, plus it was so obvious that the teenage characters were being played by stars pushing 30), making it all the more appropriate that John Travolta should carry on the Divine tradition of a man playing mama Edna Turnblad in drag, without *being* a drag. Travolta is great fun to watch, a delightful surprise with his sensitive performance (even if his Baltimore accent is a little off — but maybe that's just because Baltimore is played by Toronto :-)) as insecure caterpillar-turned-butterfly Edna; this is no cheap, brassy drag-queen turn. The very convincing fat F/X makeup and prosthetics (Edna may be overweight, but she's got womanly curves in all the right places) don't get in the way of fleet-footed Travolta's fabulous dancing. Adorable newcomer Nikki Blonsky lights up the screen in all her scenes as Tracy Turnblad, the perky dynamo who won't let her plus-size body or the sneers of Amber Von Tussle (Brittany Snow) and the other so-called cool kids keep her from dancing her way onto Baltimore's American BANDSTAND manque, THE CORNY COLLINS SHOW. Tracy and her shy bud Penny Pingleton (Amanda Bynes) become socially aware as they befriend the black kids from the "wrong" side of town, fighting against bigoted station manager and stage mother Velma Von Tussle (Michelle Pfeiffer, having a blast slinking around making trouble) to integrate the show instead of relegating their new friends to the program's monthly "Negro Day." The plot's serious aspects, with its foreshadowing of the era's more sobering issues, are woven deftly into the movie's high spirits. The jubilant dance numbers, Marc Shaiman's catchy music and Scott Wittman's snappy lyrics are performed with bubbly abandon by each and every cast member. As the Dick Clark-ish Corny Collins, James Marsden proves that Hugh Jackman isn't the only X-Man with range and musical talent. I've never watched HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, but it's easy to see why Zac Efron, winning Tracy's heart as Link Larkin, has won audiences' hearts, too. Efron is alluring enough to make teenage girls squeal while coming across as wholesome enough not to panic parents, plus he doesn't seem to take himself too seriously. Indeed, there were Zac Efron fans in our theater who shrieked and giggled with joy every time he appeared on screen! Christopher Walken reminds us that before he was an eccentric Oscar-winning character actor, he was a hell of a dancer. As Tracy's supportive joke-shop proprietor dad, Walken has winsome chemistry with Travolta in their duet, "You're Timeless to Me." (You haven't lived until you've seen Walken and Travolta make like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers!) The funny, endearing Bynes is better served here than she's been in her previous movies; maybe she should seek out more ensemble pieces like this one. Bynes also has terrific chemistry with Elijah Kelley as Seaweed, who combines Denzel Washington's playful side with James Brown's moves; I'd love to see Kelley get even bigger and better roles. As Seaweed's mom, Motormouth Maybelle, Queen Latifah is saintly yet sassy, gliding effortlessly between belting out "Big, Blonde, and Beautiful" and bringing tears to my eyes with her soulful ballad "I Know Where I've Been" during the protest march. BTW, Bynes isn't the only Nickelodeon alumnus in HAIRSPRAY; director and choreographer Adam Shankman also choreographed ROUNDHOUSE, one of our favorite Nick shows from the early 1990s. Leslie Dixon adapted Waters' original screenplay, keeping the sly, subversive elements while also keeping things bouncy and upbeat. HAIRSPRAY is a great big sunny summer movie that'll put a smile on your face, a song on your lips, and a shimmy in your shake!
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I Am Shocked
femaleanimefan23 July 2007
I am shocked at how much I liked this movie. When I first heard about it, I wasn't too excited. I'm not a big fan of musicals and I didn't think this would make me warm up to them. But I really loved this movie. It was absolutely fantastic. I was forced into seeing this movie and I didn't expect it to be that good.

My sister asked me to take her daughters, Jacqueline and Emma to see the movie and I was a little reluctant to at first, but I eventually agreed to go. It wasn't as good as Transformers, but it was a ton of fun! My nieces were smiling to the whole movie and so was I. It was just very funny and extremely enjoyable.

The whole cast was absolutely superb. Nikki Blonsky has talent. She pulled off the role of Tracy great. Amanda Bynes was great as Tracy's pal, Penny. I like Amanda, she is a funny girl. John Travolta as Edna, Tracy's mom. Wow. Pretty good. Michelle Pheiffer and Brittany Snow play snotty mother and daughter, Velma and Amber Von Tussel. They were pretty funny. Christopher Walken is excellent as always. Queen Latifa as Motormouth Maybelle was pretty damn hilarious. Zac Efron as the dreamy Linc Larkin. He was pretty cool. Elijah Kelley as Seaweed was just awesome!

The script was pretty awesome. The songs were good and you may find yourself tapping your feet to the music. The dialogue was fun and absolutely hilarious. The characters were very, very likable. You may even grow attached to the antagonists. It was very well written and the cast proved that even more.

If you want to have a fun time at the movies, I really recommend Hairspray. Even the guys will love it. The songs, script, and cast were all excellent and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Even though I loathe musicals, this one was great. Go watch it. It's very entertaining.

Cast: 10/10 Songs: 9/10 Choreography: 9/10 Writing: 10/10 Characters: 10/10

Overall Score: 10/10
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A Total Ten
swkidder13 July 2007
This is not CINEMA and it's not ART ... what is, however, is the most fun I've had seeing a film in I can't remember how long ... a totally incredible, wonderful, feel good, and so glad you went experience.

Oh, and the performances were overall excellent ... with some stand-outs - Travolta, Nikki Blonsky, Zac Efron, Queen Latifah, & Michelle Pfeiffer (perenially under-rated on account of "you can't be brilliant and that beautiful?") ... and there were no clunkers - the rest of the cast provided able support to the "stars." The music and the dancing got you bouncing up and down in your seat. And finally, the racial and weight discrimination issues .. the whole "you don't fit our skinny, white, young, & whatever is currently hip stereotypes ... were handled with humor and without being patronized or trivialized - not easy to do in a musical romp. The pride and self-confidence of those who were subject to this discrimination came through as unyielding, unwavering, and solid as a rock ... just like Tracy's hair.

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What A GREAT Movie
mradamgardner2 July 2007
So I just went to a sneak peak of Hairspray this morning and was I pleasantly surprised. As a huge fan of Hairspray the stage show and of music theatre in general, this could be my favorite movie musical (Chicago, Rent, Phantom, Dreamgirls). The cast was for the most part quite stellar. Nikki Blonsky was one terrific Tracy. Very surprised and impressed with Amanda Bynes as well as Zac Effron. Elijah Kelley was impressive as Seaweed as well. John Travolta was very funny and was a great dancer (even in heals). Love Christopher Walkin's performance as well. Michelle Pfeiffer was a great evil Velma (although her singing was the weakest of the movie). Queen Latifah was PERFECT in this role, got to love her! The story lines altered from the stage show some (don't worry I won't spoil anything). But the differences were not distracting; the movie still made wonderful sense and had a great flow. Although I was bummed that several songs were cut, the ones that were kept in were sensational. Of special note were "I Can Hear the Bells," "Welcome to the 60's," "I Know Where I've Been," and "Without Love." These movie musicals just keep getting better and better. I can't wait for Sweeny Todd this Christmas!!!
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Rob/SMCA30 July 2007
What an amazing journey for this property. From the original low budget film, to a glitzy stage musical, to this phenomenal motion picture. At each stage creativity and pizazz was added to a solid story. I've seen it twice, and enjoyed it just as much the second time. Wanted to applaud several times, and threw my lot 100% into the plot. Life's too short to not enjoy such perfection. I was never a big fan of Travolta, but that he would even attempt such a role -- and pull it off with aplomb -- moves him way up on my list. Other veterans and newcomers shine. Can't wait to buy this one on DVD, but please pack it with extras and interviews!
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You can't stop my beat!!
Katie_B8820 July 2007
I was so impressed with this movie!!! I mean I'd heard of Hairspray the musical 2 years ago when I got the soundtrack from a friend and from then on I was in love!! When I heard they were making a movie last fall I'm like I have to see this!! I nearly drove my family insane by being so excited and checking this IMDb often. Finally tonight I got to see it and the wait was worth it!! Perfect casting!! John Travolta was the best Mama and he sure danced up a storm. Another thing - the choreography was perfect too - absolutely amazing on everyone's part. A couple of the songs weren't how I pictured they would be in my head but they still worked out amazing. Now cutting a musical down to a movie means there has to be some song cutting but I think they did it in an effective way and a couple of them appear in the credits and on the soundtrack from what I understand. The movie kept me laughing the entire time, except during one song(which I won't say here) made me almost come to tears. A really great movie that I can't wait to see again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again.....
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Great fun, great casting, great music.
bueny22 July 2007
I saw older versions of the movie and also the play (in both pre-Broadway and Broadway versions). As great as they all were, this 2007 movie was even better! The audience in my movie house certainly seemed to agree. Virtually everyone in the theatre applauded when the movie was over (unusual here in subdued Seattle)and about a dozen people actually gave the moving a STANDING ovation (I can't recall seeing that here). I would highlight a specific performer, but it would be very difficult since they were all terrific, from the leads to the smaller role players. The music was sensational (I wanted to buy a CD, but the theatre said they had sold out), and there wasn't a dull minute in the movie. I'd put this movie right up there (and in my opinion a bit ahead) of other "classics" of this genre like "Grease,""Bye Bye Birdie" and the more recent "Chicago" and "Dreamgirls" (all of which I thought were excellent). We went with 2 other couples, the men of which told me they "hated musicals," but they loved this picture and they actually raved about it the rest of the evening. I'd really worry about someone who didn't enjoy and have fun at this "Hairspray!" I'm serious!!
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Montreal Kid5 July 2007
Just got back from the premiere and this was an amazing movie. I wasn't expecting it to be comparable to the Broadway but it was amazing. The casting was really well done, the sets were very well decorated. Costumes were impressive. Travolta was an excellent Edna. It is definitely worth seeing. Laugh your head off funny. Music and performances had everybody in the theater dancing or tapping their feet. If you want to have fun, go see this movie. You will dance all the way home. I think this will be one of the better movies of the summer and definitely deserves a few awards. I can't wait for it to be released so I can bring all my friends and family.
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a major let down
alan3_p31 July 2007
I have to buck the trend seems the world is full of Hairpray fans...but I am not one of them. I loved the 1988 version because it was camp and over the top, and deliciously subversive...but the latest offering is a diluted, lifeless affair that tries to hard to be the next Grease; has songs with little or no singalong quality; is vaguely offensive in its handling of serious issues, and basically offers the audience nothing new. I can remember when Grease came out how everyone rushed out to have the soundtrack - you were something of a social outcast at school if you did not own the album. Will the same sort of buzz be generated by the latest soundtrack to Hairspray? I very much doubt it. The songs are noisy, cluttered, unoriginal and ...stale. I wanted so much to like this film...I really did...but left the cinema thinking I had wasted my time and money. Divine was loud and brash, camp and offensive - Travolta's performance is too coy and restrained to make his character as appealing or memorable. I kept watching to see if he and Chris walken would kiss, but, like the rest of this diluted movie, it appears nobody had to the balls to eat up their roles with relish or conviction ... there is loads of scope to go completely over the top, yet every character comes across as being too scared to be larger than if they tried to make the most inoffensive movie they could..and succeeded. I much preferred the brashy, trashy '88 version.
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I wanted to like it
nopuppy-120 August 2007
I love the original film, and I enjoyed the songs from the Broadway musical, but had real qualms about what was done to the plot. And unfortunately the film bears out my fears: this has to be the sloppiest, most incoherent plot ever put on celluloid. The lapses in logic are appalling: "Robot Monster" makes more sense! Characterization is beyond minimal, it's practically non-existent. The characters of Link and Amber barely exist; at least Link has a song or two, but they aren't character songs. Amber has, what, five lines? Some of these are problems carried over from the show, which is a shame, since the songs could easily be plugged into the original with little adapting (except for cutting that lousy "Miss Baltimore Crabs" number). A missing song, "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now," would have given Amber and Penny something interesting to do. One nice change was made to the finale, but generally the song's impact is dissipated by dialogue interruptions and pointless, unfunny slapstick. John Travolta is practically unintelligible, Christopher Walken is inaudible. Direction is scattershot as well, and the choreography is not up to snuff.

It's too bad, because this really is a pretty good cast (Travolta aside). Some of the antic joy that is a musical comedy comes through, and that's about it. I just hope that Waters's original doesn't disappear under the avalanche of hype this movie comes equipped with. If you haven't seen the original, run out and grab it! It's a joy. Who'd have thought that John Waters, of all people, would create one of the more heartwarming fables of the latter years of the 20th Century?
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Extra Mayo, Please
gftbiloxi3 February 2008
As originally created by John Waters in 1988, HAIRSPRAY was the tale of an overweight 1960s teenager who successfully crashes a small time T.V. dance program--only to find herself in the midst of a battle between segregationists and integrationists. In 2002 it was transformed into a Broadway musical which in turn became this big screen musical in 2007. But where the 1988 film was hilariously subversive, the 2007 film is akin to watching re-runs of The Lawrence Welk Show while snacking on white bread and mayonnaise.

A big part of the problem here is the screenplay by Leslie Dixon, best known for such "goody-goody gumdrops" films as PAY IT FORWARD, and who seems to have been hired primarily to remove absolutely everything from the original that made the story interesting in the first place. If there was anything anywhere that had an edge, Dixon blunted it and producer-director-choreographer Adam Shankman, a mediocre talent if ever there was one, did the rest.

The absolute best thing that can be said about the 2007 HAIRSPRAY is that has a fairly consistent energy level, largely thanks to Nikki Blonsky as the teenage Tracy Turblad. The rest of the cast, however, is really more miss than hit. Both Christopher Walken and Queen Latifah manage to find a few moments, but the rest of the players range from dire to horrendous. Michelle Pfeiffer once more goes out of her way to demonstrate why she should never be cast in a musical and John Travolta resembles nothing so much as a giant 'possum in a big wig and an unattractive dress. Given that the producer, director, and writer have worked so hard to remove the original film's "camp" factor, one has to wonder why they bothered to continued the tradition of casting the role of Mrs. Turnblad with a male actor anyway! All of this might be overlooked and even forgiven if the musical numbers were knock-outs. Unfortunately, the songs and dances are merely adequate and nothing more. You aren't going to ohhhh and ahhhhh over the dance numbers and you aren't going to walk away from the film humming the melodies. It's not that they are bad--they just aren't memorable or impressive in any way. When all is said and done, the musical version of HAIRSPRAY is a movie for people who thought somebody should have toned down HIGHSCHOOL MUSICAL.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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Spray the Energy
Chrysanthepop25 June 2008
'Hairspray' is perhaps one of the most spirited energetic musicals of recent time. Right from the beginning till the end, it's all energy. There is not one boring moment. Actually there is no time to be bored. Shankman does the admirable task of directing the film AND choreographing the dances. The film's also a treat to watch. It's very colourful and reminds one of the 60's glamour. The songs are of the foot-tapping and head nodding sort (pretty much any upbeat song of the 60's has this kind of effect on me).

The cast is splendid. The actors do the multiple task of acting, singing and dancing. It's quite obvious that Travolta's Edna is played by a man but his acting isn't bad. He manages to emote well and his dance number with Christopher Walken is hilarious. He does get into the skin of the character if not entirely the gender. Walken excellently plays the loving kind-hearted, slightly naive, father. Here one will see a different Christopher Walken. This is Michelle Pfeiffer's second negative role this year (the other being her character in 'Stardust'). The role was originally played by the famous Deborah Harry and it's noticeable how they eerily look alike. Pfeiffer both looks and acts the part of a skinny manipulative obnoxious bitch, making it her own. A lesser actress could have easily messed up the part. James Marsden is spot on as the host of a 60's musical show. He keeps proving his versatility. Amanda Bynes is adorable as the daft and supportive Penny. Allison Janney is a fantastic scene stealer. Jerry Stiller, who played Wilbur in the 1988 version, makes his presence felt with just one scene. It's hard to picture anyone other than the divine Queen Latifah as Motormouth Maybelle. Elijah Kelley dances well and Zac Efron's acting is wooden but his dances are okay. However, the 'Hairspray' rests on newcomer Nikki Blonsky. Not only does she hold her own among a host of incredibly talented actors, she bravely carries the film.

Next to being a wonderfully entertaining film, 'Hairspray' also brings forth some issues such as acceptance, tolerance and integration of people no matter their gender, race or sexuality. This is what the film is essentially about and it is brilliantly interwoven into this musical extravaganza. I wasn't expecting much from the film but right from the opening sequence it absorbed my attention and I was completely into the energy of the film, forgetting everything else around me during its 2 hours. A great experience.
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Best Summer Movie So Far!
watufani19 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I just came back from an early screening of Hairspray and i must say i was blown away. I was a fan of both the original movie and the Broadway show. I wasn't sure what to expect from the director of such cinematic wonders such as "Brinin' down the house" and "Cheaper by the dozen 2"...not. From director of those i was expecting crap. Boy Was I Wrong! The movie is nonstop fun from start to finish. From the beginning when cute Nikki Blonsky begins singing the opening number till the cast sings and dances their way to the ending. Nikki Blonsky was the perfect choice for the bubbly Tracy Turnblad. John Travolta was A Riot as Edna Turnblad. You love love love Edna by the end of the movie when she dances her way across the stage on the CC show. Elijah Kelly was perhaps one of the most impressive in the cast. His constant energy was so entertaining. I wasn't sure i'd like Amanda Bynes, but I Loved Her! She was perfect for the role, they couldn't have chosen anybody better. Queen Latifah and James Marsden were absolutely amazing as they host the Corny Collins Show. Queen's show-stopping number had people in the audience applauding enthusiastically. Michelle Pfieffer and Brittany Snow presented the perfect villains. Christopher Walken was, as usual, hilarious! Those in smaller roles such as Taylor parks and Allison Janney all shined in their specific moments.

All in all this movie is Amazing! 10/10 stars.
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super good
hails10218 July 2007
i just got home from a sneak peak showing........ so i have seen the original and the Broadway show and was nervous about this one, but it was so good, like watching the actual show but up close!!! i will absolutely go see it again!! the only thing i wish was kept was mama i'm a big girl now, you only hear it in the credits......but i love the new songs (especially Zac's "Ladies Choice"!!) and the entire cast did a really good job!!! Amanda is great as Penny, and her and Seaweed are so hysterical together!!! Zac as link was perfect...although it was a little awkward seeing him kiss Nikki, who by the way could not have done a better job as Tracy, i wasn't sure when i heard that they were having this well know cast with a complete nobody as the lead, but she definitely earned it!! Also.....John Travolta as Edna is super funny, but when he sings i couldn't help but think..."i didn't know Dannny Zuko was in the movie." but he pulled it off!!
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"Hairspray" Fizzes
mswatsoninc25 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Being well over the age of sixteen, seeing the original film in a theatre, and trying hard not to seem as old as I feel having sat through this schlock, I'm prepared for all the Grinch style pooh-poohing that this review will undoubtedly garner--so have at it clicking that "did not help" button all you want when it comes to your take on my opinion. I hate to spoil your summer valentine, kids, but, here goes....

To say that I'm a little disappointed would be like saying John Travolta looked a little stupid. But, wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let me be perfectly blunt...I am a huge John Waters fan and loved "Hairspray" when it was released in the late '80s. I was stunned when they decided to update the film version for the Broadway stage, and really thought it was an idea that would leave as quickly as it appeared, but, it became a hit. When I saw the Broadway production with Harvey Fierstein, and realized they were using totally different music from the film, I was blown away and left the theatre humming "Good Morning, Baltimore," "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now," "I Can Hear the Bells," and "You Can't Stop the Beat." It was just as joyous, high energy, campy and fun as the film had been. All my initial trepidations were squashed and I became a fan of the stage version as well.

And now, we have a film version of the stage version. How could it possibly go awry? Simple...let Hollywood--an institution that Waters has always bucked--get a hold of it at long last. By hook or by crook, they've taken a fantastic story and sucked all the joy, camp and fun out of it. Gone are the outrageous hairdos. Gone are the notions of telling a serious story without taking it too seriously. What we have now is a funeral dirge ballad during a race protest, an off the wall bollixed pseudo-affair between two of the characters, the dropping of great songs from the stage for stupid and pointless production numbers that make you cringe, an underused Michelle Pfieffer, an overused and out of place Christopher Walken, and one of THE MOST embarrassing performances ever captured on film by John Travolta in his ridiculous attempt to tackle the role of Edna Turnblad.

Honestly--Divine is rolling over in his grave and Fierstein is thanking his lucky stars he wasn't involved (Oh, what a crime the producers wanted to have STAR POWER--Fierstein would have won the Oscar for just showing up on the set. Oh, the humanity). Let's just cut to the chase--Travolta turned a big, brassy, campy character like Edna Turnblad into a cowering, slow learning, knuckle dragging mental defective. And what--tell me, WHAT--was up with that accent of his? It wasn't Southern, it wasn't Baltimore, it wasn't anything but annoying and made him come across as, no offense to anyone challenged, Down's Syndrome. When he sang, all you could hear was "Sandy, can't you see, I'm in misery?"--you ain't the only one, John. Really, once the show closes on Broadway, is THIS going to be our reference point? TRAVOLTA??? This will be our Edna Turnblad to live in infamy? Outrageous. Had he been even REMOTELY passable in the role, the rest of the film's flaws might not have seemed so bad. But, he wasn't and they did.

But, Travolta isn't solely to blame--oh, would that it were that easy. Hokey Hollywood tried to add major plot twists (Wilbur Turnblad and Velma Von Tussle getting caught in a passionate moment? Pu-leeze!!) and heavy handed moments (Queen Latifah's candlelit march on the TV station) into what should have been one hour and forty five minutes of uplifting good fun. But, what's the kicker? The final number of "You Can't Stop the Beat"--when the entire company on stage is supposedly all together totally reformed--has Velma angry and fired, Amber limping and still miffed, and Lil Inez with a tiara on her head. Oh, and if you look really closely, you can see Ricki Lake making a cameo in the stands. In a word...YUCK.

The one high point of the entire film is the discovery of Nikki Blonsky. Blonsky's Tracy Turnblad is every bit the star of this film, but, her cute approach seems a little forced after a while, given all the sturm and drang she she's surrounded by.

If you consider yourself someone who has a broader musical reference beyond that of "Rent" and "Grease," this one doesn't even come close to being a home run. I guess "Chicago" is the only thing close to a success story Hollywood has been able to come up with of late.
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themoviejedi14 June 2007
if there is one song that would describe the movie, it is YOU CANT STOP THE BEAT...

there is really no stopping the beats. we do not really get a break from the songs, rather the volume was turned really low and about 3, 5 minutes later, here comes the beats for the next song. talk about building up the momentum.

every dance and song number just makes you want to get up from your seats and dance. i personally liked WELCOME TO THE 60s, WITHOUT LOVE and of course YOU CANT STOP THE BEAT.

john travolta as EDNA is a delight. a line on the WELCOME to THE 60's goes something like wel-co-oh-oh-me is just reminiscent of one of the songs he performed on GREASE. even as dressed as a girl, you can still tell that he's the reigning musical actor of this generation.

of course, who can forget LINK's and CORNY's winks. props to zac efron for not letting troy bolton come across the screen.

amanda bynes and sea weed is grrreat! she is super funny! this is what the recent musicals should have been.

in a time of CGI effects and mind boggling plots, it's a relief that once in a while, a movie comes that you would just simply enjoy and makes you want to scream for joy! PS. please do wait for the curtain call as you would just feel the enthusiasm of the audience and how they enjoyed it. a couple of songs that weren't performed during the movie also play at the end.
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Amazing movie!
rishika-arya17 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I saw the Toronto premiere last night, and i was amazed! I'm just gonna give an analysis of some of the main actors Nikki Blonsky (Tracy Turnblad) - A brilliant debut, her enthusiasm makes u feel all excited, and it may seem that her attitude in the film is rather corny; you can't help but feel the same way when she sings. Her infatuation for Link Larkin (Zac Efron) was adorably and cheekily cute (and I think any teenage girl such as myself, would agree that he is rather cute :P) John Travolta (Edna Turnblad) - An amazing return to the musicals for Travolta, especially in drag! Edna's side-splitting obsession over food is hilarious to watch, and you will be in stitches just looking at his posterior, amazing acting by Travolta! Michelle Pfeiffer (Velma Von Tussle) - Great acting as the "baddie" of the film, her rising anger is so funny to watch, and her wickedness draws you into her character so much you can hardly believe it. Brilliant! Amanda Bynes (Penny Pingleton) - great role as the lead's best friend, her growing relationship with Seaweed Stubbs is hilarious and her innocence is so striking you can't help but fall in love with it and the rest of her lollipop-sucking character Zac Efron (Link Larkin) - the heartthrob of the movie can really make you fall in love with his charm, trademark hair, wink and dancing. You also love his good nature, as he favours the segregation protest for black people. Seeing as Efron is extremely popular with young women, casting him as the heart-throb of the movie pulls off really well. Falling in love with Tracy Turnblad is a rather cheesy storyline, yet it is still believable enough and this blends in well with the nature of this film. Amazing acting by Efron, he was cast so well for this film and this will ensure his future in film will be extremely successful (besides...he's hot :P).On hearing him say the word "ass" in this film removes his vulnerable High School Musical teen aspect, and makes him a real man, brilliant acting from him :) Overall, a brilliant film to watch, I'd definitely recommend it comedy/musical fans. This feel-good film is a MUST for anyone ♥ :)
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If you like musicals, you will LOVE this
malgaze14 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
It was a great joy to watch this come to life for the 3rd time. I'm a huge fan of the original John Waters film (spoiler - blink and you will miss his cameo). Nikki is so adorable you will instantly fall in love with her. Travolta, who is so hard to take in the trailers, really grows on you after about 10 minutes. The weakest link is actually the kid from High School Musical, Zac something.....I saw the musical on Broadway as well, I think it follows that plot line pretty closely, I don't remember any differences in the story, if there were some they were minor. The casting was pitch perfect. The entire film a delight. I thing this film is going to get lost amongst the big summer blockbusters. The test audience I was with enjoyed it, clapped a lot, cheered and seemed to be having a ton of fun. It's a lot lighter than Chicago and Dreamgirls, just to compare it to recent movie musicals.
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a bold prediction
catalyst-722 July 2007
Two days after seeing this film, I can't remember a single tune, but I'm still happy. And still thinking.

This is the kind of movie that provokes both happiness and thought. And happiness and thought are especially welcome in an unhappy country that seems--finally--to be nearly ready to emerge from its Cheneyesque "There's only one way to be OK" mindset. That was also true in the early '60s, the period depicted in this film. I remember that time very well, and am most eager to leave it behind me a second time.

I hope to return with a more thoughtful and thorough review, but for now I will offer one bold prediction: John Travolta will be the surprise winner of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for his remarkably sweet, funny and straightforward portrayal of Edna!
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