By: Uma Ribeiro
Based on the 2002 broadway musical and Starring Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta, Christopher Walken, Queen Latifah, and Zac Efron, Hairspray is a must-watch movie for all musical fans or for simply anyone who wants to see a fun and memorable film with a message.
Taking place in 1960s Baltimore city in the midst of the Civil Rights movement, Hairspray follows bubbly, plus-sized teen Tracy Turnblad (Blonsky) who has a strong passion for dancing. She dreams of having a place on the “Corny Collins Show”, the local teen dancing program she watches on TV everyday with her best friend, Penny Pingleton (Amanda Bynes). She finds out there are auditions being held to perform on the program, and hurries to show the producers what she could offer. Tracy faces bullying from the antagonists of the movie, network producer Velma Von Tussle (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her equally vicious daughter, Amber (Brittany Snow).
Back at school, Tracy lands herself in detention where she meets a young kid with great dancing skills named Seaweed (Elijah Kelley), one of the many black teens who only get one day, called “Negro Day,” to show off their dance moves on the Corny Collins show. Tracy eventually earns herself a spot on the show after her crush, Link Larkin (Efron), sees her dancing, and she uses it to express her disdain of the fact that dancing is still segregated. She tells host Corny Collins (James Marsden) that if she won Miss Baltimore she would make dancing on the show integrated once and for all.
Tracy gains popularity on the show, much to the dislikings of Amber and her mother, who attempt to stop her from winning Miss Baltimore and oppose her ideas of integration. She must figure out how to beat Amber while also helping her friends earn permanent spots on a new and integrated Corny Collins show.
Not only is the writing of Hairspray funny, entertaining, and witty, but the set and music of the movie are superbly done as well. The music alone is a reason to watch the movie, as each song is catchy and great to sing along to, from the opening, “Good Morning Baltimore,” to evil Mrs. Von Tussle in “(The Legend of) Miss Baltimore Crabs,” to Queen Latifah’s “Big, Blonde, and Beautiful,” there are songs for everyone that are certain to please the ear. The movie also accomplished the setting and costumes of 1960s Baltimore city, from row homes and brick roads to big hair and even bigger dresses and an accurate description of the city in the opening song.
The acting in Hairspray will not disappoint, with Nikki Blonsky paying homage to traditional broadway with her expressive looks and strong voice, her gullible and slightly ignorant character learning more throughout the movie, John Travolta playing Tracy’s mother in drag with a thick Baltimore accent, Zac Efron playing a conflicted and love-stricken Link Larkin, Brittany Snow convincingly playing spoiled, mean girl, Amber Von Tussle, and a big, blonde, and beautiful Queen Latifah who steals the screen when singing.
Hairspray is a movie people of all ages can thoroughly enjoy. Whether or not you’re a musical buff, Hairspray is a must-see. Packed with comedy, romance, and drama along with a fun and satisfying ending, you are sure to find something to like in the film.