Tracy Turnblad, a 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 teen regular. With the help of her friend Seaweed, Tracy is chosen, angering evil dance queen Amber Von Tussle and her mother Velma. Tracy then decides that it's not fair that black kids can only dance on the show once a month (on "Negro Day"), 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
Penny Pingleton's dress in the "You Can't Stop the Beat" song was made from the curtains in her room. This is an homage to The Sound of Music (1965). See more »
At several points in the film self-inflating whoopee cushions are depicted, but cushions of the self-inflating variety were not available until the 1990s. 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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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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