Genre: Musical, Comedy
Runtime: 115 Minutes
I’m not scared to admit that I enjoyed this nostalgia styled musical film and it is one of my guilty pleasures. It’s full of those cliché movie moments for sure, but they are quite on the deliberate side. And when not on the deliberate side, it’s elements of comedy. It is sort of like what Cry-baby does, pokes fun at the subject. Hairspray stars a wide cast being from musical past star, John Travolta playing the overweight house mouse mother to Michelle Pfeiffer as the ultimate showbiz bitch. I know many women love it, and that goes for my sister and mother included, and even as a boy I can’t deny this film’s fun entertaining charm. Full of bright nostalgic sets, fun characters and a plot that is simple, but nice, Hairspray is a wonderful summer movie with lots of energy.
In a 1950’s Baltimore setting, our story meets Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky), an overweight high school student who dreams of becoming a dancer on the popular TV show The Corny Collins Show. The film begins with Tracey enduring a day of school with her friend Penny and at the end of the day they rush home to watch their favourite show, being The Corny Collins Show. The teenagers featured on the show attend Tracy and Penny's school, among them the arrogant and wealthy Amber von Tussle (Brittany Snow) and her boyfriend, Link Larkin the lead male dancer on the show. Tracey manages to get on the show eventually and becomes one of Corny Collins most popular Council Members. Obviously this aggravates the Von Tussle mother and daughter in their bitchy ways as they try and get her off the show. From that point it’s a whole lot of fun and it has an important message of racial discrimination, and shows the racial problems in the 50’s.
|The Corny Collins Show cast.|
In terms of character the film is full of it and with a wide variety of recognisable names. First off we have John Travolta playing Edna Turnblad and ends up making quite a believable female. Then you have Batman Return’s Catwoman star, Michelle Pfeiffer as Velma, a narcisstic woman who loves nothing more than fame. The film features Queen Latifah, Christopher Walken, Zac Efron (Yuk!), and even Amanda Bynes. Then of course the star of the show, Tracey Turnblad played by Nikki Blonsky. The cast of characters are fun, bright and funny and sum up to make one heck of a fun musical film.
The set designs of course look brilliantly vibrant and everything from the architecture to the costumes look very nostalgic and have that true cliché and vintage 60’s feel. Although I was never there, I think most people understand what it was like. The music was also a guilty pleasure of mine. The very first song is overly happy and I’m sure it would get on some people’s nerves, but it was a fun musical piece that kick started the film. Hairspray has plenty of funny moments as well as it’s wonderful music. An example is the song with Edna and her husband singing called “You’re timeless to me”.
The heart of the movie isn’t much the plot, but rather the energy. If it weren’t for the energetic performances from Nikki Blonsky and even John Travolta the film would fall flat. The film is bright, warm, and funny and it’s a very fun musical for that. I mean what’s not to be funny; we have Travolta playing a 60’s overweight housewife. The film is based on the 80’s John Waters film of the same name, which I will soon be checking out. So while it isn’t the greatest musical of all time it’s one of the best in the past 10 years.
My Rating: 8/10