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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
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
'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.
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?
*** This review may contain 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 ♥ :)
*** This review may contain 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.
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!
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!!
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.....
I saw Hairspray for the first time tonight, and I wanted to get up and dance several times. This movie is so happy, so catchy, and so feel-good that you'd have to be physically dying not to enjoy it. It has a lot of positive messages -racial harmony, love, following your dreams- and the music! This is, in my humble opinion, the best soundtrack since Moulin Rouge! All the cast did a great job, and I found myself forgetting that Edna Turnblad was John Travolta. The duet with Christopher Walken is comedic brilliance. (And guys, Amanda Bynes looked GOOD!) I left the theater a half hour ago, and I'm still smiling. I recommend this film to everybody. If you are having a bad day, Hairspray will make you feel brand new.
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