Everything In Its Proper Place
In my experience, a person either loves musicals or detests them. Many find them too surreal (as if anyone breaks into harmonized, choreographed song when the gang fights start). Armed with the knowledge that Hairspray originated as a—ahem!—respectable screenplay, unencumbered by silly, extraneous songs and dance routines, I was skeptical.
For those who (like me) have heard of Hairspray but know little about it, the tale takes place in 1960s
Trouble erupts, though, when Tracy Turnblad, an otherwise shy, plump and bubbly teen whose absolute dream is to make it onto The Corny Collins Show, actually makes it onto the show, threatening the reigning dance princess’s modest charm and well-tended coiffure. When a sabotage scheme cooked up by Amber Von Tussle and her mother, Velma, lands the innocent Tracy in detention (occupied mostly by blacks) Tracy learns that there are more important issues than winning the Miss Teenage Hairspray crown—issues like segregation and racial inequality. After joining forces with Motormouth Maybelle,
What surprised me most about Hairspray is that, quite frankly, I enjoyed it. The casting, though eclectic, is superb, turning a movie about “standing out” into a balanced, artful ensemble effort. Nikki Blonsky as
Aside from the phenomenal casting, director Adam Shankman pulls the film together in a tightly-wrapped package, and hairsprays it into stark submission. Not a hair, not a word, not a movement is out of place. The choreographed scenes are great fun to watch, and the storyline never flags too much. In all, the film can be interpreted as a commentary on any prejudice: race, religious belief, size and shape, intelligence, education, income—you name it; and Hairspray can somehow relate to the tension between numerous parties.
Hairspray’s director, Adam Shankman, does an excellent job turning this film-turned-Broadway-musical-turned-movie-musical into an enjoyable, clean, slightly political but never preachy tale into a classic portrayal of winning, losing, and speaking out for what you believe.
Hairspray is rated PG for “language, some suggestive content and momentary teen smoking.” That is true, and it’s pretty tame, really. This is definitely a movie you could take your family to see, and not risk too much.
Courtesy of a local publicist, Jenn attended a promotional screening of Hairspray.