Saturday, July 28, 2007

Movie Review: HAIRSPRAY (Updated)

Bill and I were in dire need of a good comedy so we went to watch Hairspray tonight. What a relaxing time we had! This movie was sheer Fun!

A musical comedy adapted from a Broadway play of the same name, Hairspray is about a happy - go-lucky, plump teenager, Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) from 1962 Baltimore who loves to dance. Her dream is to be selected to dance on "The Corny Collins Show" (a TV dance program which seems to be a combination of The Mickey Mouse Club and The Dick Clark Show.)

Tracy's parents, Edna (John Travolta dressed as a woman and acting as a woman throughout), who takes in laundry, is initially resistant to Tracy's auditioning for the show, but her dad, Wilbur (Christopher Walken), a novelty shop owner, is more encouraging and tells her to go for it.

When Tracy auditions, she is strongly rejected by Velma Van Tousle (Michelle Pfeiffer), the Producer of the show and a former beauty queen, who is determined to keep her daughter, Amber (Brittany Snow) in the spotlight as Miss Teenage Hairspray (Clutch Hairspray is the sponsor of the show), while the star of the show, Corny Collins (James Marsden), is open to changing with the times. One of the things Corny is at odds with Velma about is "Negro Day", which is held only monthly and is hosted by Motormouth Maybelle (Queen Latifah). Velma decides to put an end to it.

In spite of Velma's efforts to keep Tracy off the show, the lively teen attracts the admiration of dancing star Link Larkin (High School Musical’s Zak Efron), appears on the TV show, and becomes an overnight sensation. Tracy also earns the respect of Maybelle’s son, Seaweed, (Elijah Kelley), who is attracted to her best friend, Penny Pingleton (Amanda Bynes) and the White teens join the African American teens in a dancing party on the other side of town. When Motormouth Maybelle reveals that there will no longer be a “Negro Day” on the TV program, the teenagers are devastated, but the ever - optimistic Tracy suggests that they all march in a group effort to integrate the show.

The music in this film is uplifting and upbeat, while the dancing gives it energy and pizzazz. The actors are all talented and play their parts well; however, the one character I do not like in this film is Mrs.Prudy Pingleton (Allison Janney of "The West Wing,"), Penny’s mom, a religious fanatic, who punishes her daughter by handing her a rosary, forcing her to listen to a religious record album, and tying her up with rope in her bedroom. It was intentionally meant to be ludicrous, which it was, but it still irks me that Catholics are portrayed this way on screen.

The values presented include: racial equality, self-respect, “doing what’s right", family loyalty, and support, which all enhance the quality of the film.

Due to some crass expressions, innuendo, mild sexual banter and irreverence, and brief teen smoking, I agree with the USCCB, that this film is more suitable for older teens and adults.

My rating: B+ ***1/2 out of four stars.

Related Post: Featured Friday Film: Hairspray

1 comment:

Christine the Soccer Mom said...

I was really surprised to see this movie coming out because I remember the first movie, which the Broadway play was based on, way back when Ricki Lake was a fat girl. ;) It starred Divine (drag queen) as her mother (the role Travolta plays in this version).

I was bemused by the whole thing and it reminds me of what happened with The Producers: movie to stage to movie again.