Tracy Turnblad, an overweight teenager with all the right moves, is obsessed with the Corny Collins Show. Every day after school, she and her best friend Penny run home to watch the show and drool over the hot Link Larkin, much to Tracy's mother Edna's dismay. After one of the stars of the show leaves, Corny Collins holds auditions to see who will be the next person on the Corny Collins show. With all of the help of her friend Seaweed, Tracy makes it on the show, angering the evil dance queen Amber Von Tussle and her mother Velma. Tracy then decides that it's not fair that the black kids can only dance on the Corny Collins Show once a month, and with the help of Seaweed, Link, Penny, Motormouth Maybelle, her father and Edna, she's going to integrate the show.....without denting her 'do! 

 

4.5
Exuberant, toe-tapping, and utterly infectious.

It’s Baltimore, 1962 and every kid in town wants to be on the hip-swingingest rock n roll TV sensation around: the Corny Collins Show.

The program’s biggest fan – in every sense of the word – is effervescent teenager Tracy Turnblad.

When an audition opportunity comes up Tracy jumps, shakes and shimmies at the chance to be a star. But station manager Velma Von Tussle doesn’t want Tracy cluttering up her show. Any more than she wants Baltimore’s African-American kids cutting a rug next to their white equivalents.

It’s up to Tracy, her family and friends, and Baltimore’s black community to show just how much groovy fun desegregation can be.

This exuberant, toe-tapping, utterly infectious film is a remake of John Waters’ 1988 movie of the same name. Two decades on the musical adaptation of Hairspray became a Broadway smash hit and is now a box-office movie blockbuster.

Amazingly, this is the professional debut for Nikki Blonksy, who plays Tracy. A year ago, she’d just graduated high school and was scooping ice cream. Now she’s a star – and she anchors the film with her open, sunny performance.

In a risky move, John Travolta, under an enormous amount of make-up, plays Tracy’s mum, in the role originally performed by the 300 pound transvestite Divine. But it works, and Travolta gets a lot of comic mileage of the distinctive Baltimore accent.

But as vicious viper Velma, Michelle Pfeiffer steals the show with her eye-rolling, lip-curling cynicism the perfect foil to the film’s optimism. The rest of the stellar cast also shine. The film’s other stars are director-choreographer Adam Shankman and lyricist Mark Shaiman.

Hairspray is almost all song and dance but just about every number is superbly comic, beautifully arranged and keeps the characters and story moving forward. I reckon when the Oscars roll around next year, we’ll see this get a lot of nominations, including Best Picture.

As a brilliant musical comedy with a great message of outsider triumph, Hairspray rates four and a half stars.