Sunday, August 12, 2007
Movie Reviews: HAIRSPRAY
An adaptation of the hit Broadway play, which was in turn inspired by the 1988 John Waters classic, chubby teenager Tracy Turnblad (Nicole Blonsky) will do anything to get on Corny Collins' (James Marsden) local Baltimore dance show, even if it means defying her parents Edna (John Travolta in drag) and Wilbur (Christopher Walken). And when she eventually makes it on the rock 'n' roll progam, she surprisingly becomes the hit of the city, much to the consternation of the previous dancing queen, Amber Von Tussle (Brittany Snow), who will do anything to dethrone her competition.
Cast Nicole Blonsky, John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah, Amanda Bynes, Christopher Walken
Director(s) Adam Shankman
Writer(s) Leslie Dixon, Mark O'Donnell
Status In theaters (wide)
Release Date July 20, 2007
Running Time 107 minutes
MPAA Rating PG - for language, some suggestive content and momentary teen smoking
Hairspray contains the kind of infectious unbridled enthusiasm that's hard to deny. From the opening song in this film a sense of fun permeates throughout and never really lets down. Nichole Blonsky impresses as she sings and dances with reckless abandon and makes Tracy instantly likable. Blonsky's wide eyed optimism just infects every scene she's in especially when she's dancing or belting out songs. Michelle Pfeiffer is equally impressive as she's in full villain mode throughout. Her performance is a great counterbalance to Blonksy's Tracy beaming exuberance. Travolta in drag does take a bit of getting used to, just like his forced Baltimore accent, but he does pull off a very good performance giving Edna a nice bit of complexity and insecurity. Queen Latifah also puts in a good turn as Motormouth Maybelle, there should be a restriction that Latifah can only be in a movies if she sings as it suits her much better than anything else she's done. Director Adam Shankman does the smart thing and just lets the audience take in the superbly designed and choreographed song and dance sequences. In doing so we're able to enjoy the toe tapping-ly fun songs and watch the production put on for each sequence which is truly impressive. Keep a keen eye for quick little cameos from the original Hairspray (1988) Rikki Lake and John Waters pop up and Jerry Stiller appears in a full on part. As a whole this musical is right up there with Dreamgirls and Chicago in terms of making the successful transition to the big screen and makes for extremely enjoyable experience.