1 hour, 47 minutes
PG Parental Guidance Suggested.
for language, some suggestive content and momentary teen smoking
DVD Features: Sing along with the movie using the lyric track; Step-by-step dance instructions; 5 deleted scenes including Tracy's never-before-seen musical number, "I Can Wait"; "You Can't Stop the Beat: The Long Journey of Hairspray" documentary; "Hairspray Extensions:" breakin' down the dance scenes; "The Roots of Hairspray" - from Buddy Deane to Broadway
John Travolta ... Edna Turnblad
Nikki Blonsky ... Tracy Turnblad
Amanda Bynes ... Penny Pingleton
Christopher Walken ... Wilbur Turnblad
Zac Efron ... Link Larkin
Elijah Kelley ... Seaweed J. Stubbs
Queen Latifah ... Motormouth Maybelle
Michelle Pfeiffer ... Velma Von Tussle
Brittany Snow ... Amber von Tussel
James Marsden ... Corny Collins
Allison Janney ... Prudy Pingleton
|Based on John Waters' 1988 film and the Broadway musical it spawned, "Hairspray" is set in Baltimore in 1962 where overweight but bouncy teenager Tracy Turnblad (newcomer Nikki Blonsky) dreams of being on an American Bandstand-like TV program hosted by her idol, Corny Collins (James Marsden "X-Men"). She and her best friend, Penny Pingleton (Amanda Bynes "What a Girl Wants"), rush home from school every day to see the program, much to the despair of Tracy's mother, Edna (John Travolta "Grease" in a fat suit and in drag). Tracy dreams of one day being a TV star; a fantasy that is nurtured by her nebbishy father, Wilbur (Christopher Walken "Catch Me If You Can"). When The Corny Collins Show announces open tryouts, Tracy is first in line. She is immediately dismissed by the show's producer, Velma Von Tussle (Michelle Pfeiffer "Married to the Mob"), as being too short and too fat, but Corny likes her exuberant energy and picks her to be on the show. She is an overnight sensation and is soon challenging Velma's daughter, Amber (Brittany Snow "John Tucker Must Die") as the lead dancer. When Velma attempts to take tighter control of the show and cancels "Negro Tuesdays," presided over by Queen Lahtifah ("Beauty Shop"), Tracy joins a pro-integration march and soon becomes a fugitive from justice after being falsely accused of assaulting a cop.
All the actors, directed by by ex-choreographer Adam Shankman ("Bringing Down the House") seem to be having a ball and it really comes across. Newcomer Nikki Blonsky is a firecracker. She explodes right at the top, during the opening number, and never lets up. The only minor casting misstep may have been putting John Travolta in as the obese mom. In the 1988 film starring Devine and on stage with Harvey Fierstein, you had 2 guys who were heavy themselves and used to being in drag. Travolta isn't quite believable, though he tries hard and despite the fact that we've seen him dance and sing with great success more than 25 years ago in "Saturday Night Fever" and "Grease," but here he's outclassed and outshined by the youtrhful cast. He does have one show-stopping number though - "(You’re) Timeless to Me,” with Christopher Walken.
There are a number of additional stand-out performances in the film including Zac Efron (Disney TV's "High School Musical") as Link Larkin, Tracy's heartthrob; James Marsden as the TV dance program's host, Corny Collins; and Allison Janney (TV's "West Wing") as Prudy Pingleton, a Bible thumping mom determined to keep her pretty daughter in line and particularly horrified to find her taking up with a black boyfriend (the sensationally talented Elijah Kelley "Take the Lead"). "Hairspray" has no explosions, no chase scenes, and no shoot-outs and the film isn't deep or thematically rich or filled with fascinating characters or memorable songs, but it's nevertheless a candy-colored, bright and bouncy delight that's totally entertaining, and sure to leave you smiling.