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Hairspray (DVD) (WS)
It's Baltimore, 1962, and rebellious "pleasantly plump" teenager withthe biggest bouffant on the block, Tracy hopes to be one of the featuredstars on a popular dance show and win the coveted "Miss Auto Show" crownas she fights against racial discrimination.]]>
- Original theatrical trailer
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Top Customer Reviews
Hairspray is set in the early sixties, when teen age dance programs were all the rage. And its about a fat girl who doesn't fit in, but yet is a terrific dancer. She becomes a teenage idol though and the whole city loves her. She's smart and sassy and also wants to force the dance show to racially integrate. And she manages to do this with just the right degree of gumption, comedy and romance. The casting includes Sonny Bono and Deborah Harry as the parents of a teenager who is Ricki's competition, Colleen Fitzpatrick. And the singer Ruth Brown not only has a role of the mother of a teenager who is trying to integrate the show, she sings too. Divine plays the role of Ricki's mother as well as the male owner of the TV show. And Jerry Stiller is cast as Ricki's father.
All in all, the film is bursting with talent. I sat there, relaxed, and laughed my head off. This is truly a funny comedy. Highly recommended.
Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake) is an overweight teenage girl who can shake off jokes about her weight with a type of self-confidence that is truly remarkable. Tracy and her friend Penny Pingleton (Joann Havrilla) enjoy watching and dancing along to The Corny Collins TV Show in Tracy's living room at home; and one day Tracy sets her mind to trying out for the show with some support from her friend Penny. When Tracy does try out on the Corny Collins TV dance show for dancing teenagers, she wins a spot on the council almost immediately! This upsets the stuck up, racist reigning queen Amber von Tussle and her parents (Sonny Bono and Debbie Harry) who make their living running Tilted Acres, a segregated theme park in Baltimore. As Tracy's star rises she also charms the heart of Amber's boyfriend, Link Larkin (Michael St. Gerard). Of course, this means war. Amber and her parents must--I mean, must--find a way to disgrace Tracy so that Amber can remain the star of the show and ultimately win the highly coveted 1963 Miss Auto Show award. Of course, as this all happens, Hairspray pokes fun at the obsession some people had with getting their hair to be as high and as perfect looking as they thought it could or should be.
The movie moves along at an even pace and the action keeps your attention. Look for John Waters himself as the psychiatrist hired by Penny's parents when they find out she has a black boyfriend named Seaweed. Divine turns in quite a performance as both Tracy Turnblad's mother and Arvin Hodgepile, the TV studio owner who could can The Corny Collins Show if it becomes integrated against his will. As if that weren't enough, Ruth Brown plays the role of Motormouth Maybelle, a female record store owner who is a prominent integrationist in Baltimore and who also sometimes judges on The Corny Collins Show.
Overall, the acting exceeds my expectations for a John Waters flick; and the choreography shines in great scenes where large crowds must move about. I won't give away the plot; but if you want to see excellent choreography look not at just the complicated dance scenes they had to manage but also the race riot scene near the Tilted Acres segregated amusement park.
The cinematography works well; and each character is developed nicely as the movie goes along. The casting is flawless, too.
Hairspray earns its keep quite well; it will hold your undivided attention as you howl with laughter all the way through! The DVD also features commentary by John Waters and Ricki Lake.
When it comes down to it, Hairspray manages to do be funny, hold your attention and explore rather serious issues concerning racial tensions, segregation, integration and the first true love each teen inevitably experiences--all at the same time and all in the same movie. That's quite a feat; and I recommend this film for fans of John Waters movies but also for people who enjoy comedies that involve social commentary. Great!