Review of: Hairspray

Reviewed by:
On August 1, 2007
Last modified:October 5, 2017


Wear a Travolta fat suit if you don’t want people to recognize you, but at least give this movie a chance.

Four out of five.

Hairspray is a slightly different view of Baltimore than I’m used to. After watching four seasons of “The Wire,” I imagined it a little more… dark. That’s not meant to be racist or anything, especially since that’s a theme throughout this musical. It’s also set at the turn of the 60s.

I’m a little late on this review because I was hesitant to subject myself to Hairspray. But with all the positive reviews and it hanging around at the box office, I couldn’t ignore it forever. Besides, my biggest fan demanded my take on the film.

I admit I couldn’t wait to tear this movie apart, and started down that path in my weekend preview. It had everything going against it: Shankman, Travolta, musical, rainbow colored title…

But if Chuck and Larry taught me one thing (besides that movies can be much better), it’s tolerance. So I sucked it up and stepped outside my comfort zone.

Which is why I reluctantly say, “I liked it.”

Enough about me though. Against all expectations, this movie is quality.

The film is a throwback to the time of TV danceathons and racial segregation. The plus-sized Tracy Turnblad finally realizes her dream of being a part of her favorite TV dance show, before turning it and its members on their tall hairdos.

It’s a fun, carefree movie lead by the bubbly Nikki Blonksy. She’s so huggable and I want to tussle her domed ‘do.

The music is catchy and hopefully you won’t find me singing it in the shower. Though her best friend, played by Amanda Bynes, did things with a lollipop that made me forget music was playing at times.
Director Adam Shankman does an excellent job, despite his abysmal track record. The production has transitioned from movie to Broadway to movie again but he still keeps it fresh and very energetic.

Unlike most stage adaptations, this doesn’t have the feel of “well,
we filmed a performance of the play, hope you like it,” like The Producers or Chicago. Nor does it bash you over the head with drama like the overrated Dreamgirls.

And as creepy as John Travolta looks in his flesh-colored Barney costume, it’s strange that he has a part in what could become this generation’s Grease. It’s that good.

Hairspray definitely appeals to the more feminine audience, but as you can see, it can win over the more skeptical viewers. I doubt it will sway the more feeble minds, but you can’t win them all. Maybe after it wins the Golden Globe for “Best Musical or Comedy” will it get a little more appreciation that I withheld for far too long.

Wear a Travolta fat suit if you don’t want people to recognize you, but at least give this movie a chance. Four out of five.