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July 17, 2007 > Hairspray Movie Review

Hairspray Movie Review

By Heidi Leung

The moment Tracy Turnblad's giant beehive peaked out from under her blanket, jiving along to the opening song "Good Morning Baltimore," it was clear that Hairspray would be amazing. Though the announcement of this re-make elicited some skepticism from lovers of the original non-musical indie film, it surely did not disappoint. It was fast-paced and entertaining from start to finish.

Based on John Waters' 1980s cult classic of the same title and the Broadway hit, Hairspray is the story of Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky), a plus-size girl with big hair and dreams of becoming a dancer on the "Corny Collins Show." However, her size and fashion sense makes her different from the in-crowd causing ridicule when she finally gets a chance to try out for the coveted dance spot she wants so badly. Rejected by Velma Von Tussle (Michelle Pfeiffer), the TV station manager, based on her looks, Tracy goes back to school only to get detention for cutting class to audition. Little does she know, detention proves to be the best thing that can happen to her as she meets an African-American dancer named Seaweed (Elijah Kelley) who teaches her his signature dance move, which later lands her a spot on the "Corny Collins show."

Far from being just your average feel-good teen dance movie, Hairspray also uses its content to explore racism and intolerance of the 1960s. Until Tracy Turnblad opened her mouth to talk about her belief that America's future depended on racial integration, most people were ready to accept racism as just a normal part of life. Peddling the theme that one person can make a difference Hairspray does an amazing job of turning a serious topic into comedy, yet effectively communicates its moral point.

The movie could not have been as amazing if not for the excellent casting. John Travolta plays Edna Turnblad, Tracy's protective and loveable mother while Christopher Walken stars opposite him as Wilbur Turnblad, Tracy's supportive and silly father. Other stars include Queen Latifah as Motormouth Maybelle, the host of "Negro Day" on the "Corny Collins Show," as well as Michelle Pfeiffer as the evil but extremely gorgeous Velma Von Tussle. Newcomer Nikki Blonsky's sweet face and voice makes her the perfect choice for Tracy Turnblad while her love interest, Link Larkin is played by the perfectly dreamy and talented Zac Efron.

The immense talent of the cast is made more apparent by the fact that every musical number elicited applause from the audience as if they were at a real stage production. Aside from the perfect casting, costumes and set for the movie are outstanding. Filled with fluffy, 50's pastel party dress clad girls and their giant hair, cute boys made even cuter with their slim-cut suits and slick hair, and sweet packaging even for the hairspray cans, Hairspray is non-stop eye candy.

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