Feature

Hairspray

A plus-size teen makes it her mission to integrate a TV dance show.

This musical version of Hairspray shouldn't even be compared to John Waters' 1988 classic, said Rene Rodriguez in The Miami Herald. On its way from the screen to the Broadway stage and back again, much of its subversive soul has been lost. Though the story and setting (Baltimore in 1962) are the same, Adam Shankman's Hairspray is scrubbed squeaky clean. 'œEveryone in the movie sports such wide, furious grins that you fear they may contract lockjaw.' Yet, in its own way, this movie's as entertaining as the original. With a catchy pop soundtrack by Marc Shaiman and a shiny, happy palette, the musical is a rush. 'œTrying to deconstruct Hairspray is like trying to wrap your head around air,' said Christopher Kelly in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. So don't bother. Instead, watch the cast of big stars and newcomers revel in the silliness of their over-the-top roles. Nikki Blonsky, in her first-ever screen appearance, makes a terrific Tracy Turnblad, the chubby teen who wants desperately to dance on The Corny Collins Show, and later to integrate it. But there's one enormous reason to see Hairspray, said Dana Stevens in Slate.com. John Travolta steps into the role of Tracy's mom, Edna, with absolute commitment. His choice to play Edna as a real woman and not a drag grotesque is 'œaffecting and weirdly brave.' When Edna dances, those graceful, voluminous hips steal the show.

Rating: PG

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