Movie: Hairspray

AMC Southdale 16 8/11/2007 Score: 7

We were actually hoping to see Stardust when we went to the movie theater. It was about 2 hours after we showed up, so we decided to see Hairspray instead. I think we still would have rather seen Stardust. Hairspray is a classic musical movie, similar to Grease or West Side Story in some ways. People are singing with somewhat no reason, and others don’t notice. That is the way of musicals however, and this one is pretty good.

Tracy Turnblad is a high school student (because really, what musical isn’t set in high school?) who wants to be a dancer on the Corny Collins show in Baltimore. Her dad runs a comedy shop while her mother, played by John Travolta, runs a laundry service. Auditions end up being soon enough, and she tries out and fails miserably. That’s okay though, because at a school dance she gets spotted by a star who overrules the producer of the show somehow and gets her on. She’s a hit with everyone in the town and very popular, much to the chagrin of the other girls on the show and the producer who didn’t think she had the talent.

The show evolves from there into a story about the desegregation of the show, which Tracy is all about. She’s had a friendship with some of them since she’s in detention all of the time with them. They are planning a march because even the one segregated day of the show has been cancelled. They end up doing it and things develop from there.

Nikki Blonsky has a good showing here as Tracy, and for the time she is on screen, she pulls it off wonderfully. James Marsden as Corny Collins is also very good. Travolta plays the part well, but it feels like a gimmick in order to get another star on screen. Allison Janey also has a small part which is just hilarious as a ultra-christian mother, whose daughter is a little crazy. Overall the acting is pretty great, and the feel of the film is perfect for all of the small parts of people you recognize to show up and not be jarring at all. However, my favorite role has to be Christopher Walken as Wilbur, Tracy’s father.

There is one particular scene with Walken and Travolta which is very strange to watch, but enjoyable just the same. The songs are just about the right length apart, and are catchy enough that you’ll be humming at least one on the way out. Hairspray has a good number of jokes and laughs too, and the ending just wraps it all up nice and neat. Hairspray holds up with a 7.