Hairspray (1988)

"Very Good"

Hairspray (1988) Review


Some 34 years after the Supreme Court ended segregation, John Waters made Hairspray, probably his most wholesome film ever (it's rated PG), to relive his Baltimore youth among the regulars of his local American Bandstand-esque dance show. Hairspray's The Corny Collins Show was indeed based on a real Baltimore show called The Buddy Deane Show, and Waters' skewering of the young Elvises and their high-hair girls is dead-on.

Set in 1963, Baltimore was still fighting integration by refusing to let black youths participate in shows like these. The minority finds an unlikely champion, though, in Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake) an enormous girl who only wants to dance! As the pretty kids push against the rising popularity of the fat girl, a convenient analogue to racial discrimination develops.

Newly released as a double-disc DVD with Pecker, Waters and Lake take us through some of Hairspray's more memorable moments. Namely, I had no idea that the film was the debut of one Colleen Fitzpatrick, now better known as Vitamin C. I also didn't recall how much fun this movie was, what with the histrionics of the "dance council," the meddling parents, and the ever-higher hairdos.

It's not exactly Malcolm X, but Waters has never really made a stronger political statement since this film. Check it out.



Facts and Figures

Production compaines: New Line Cinema

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Franklin von Tussle, as Motormouth Maybelle, as Edna Turnblad, as Velma Von Tussle, as Tracy Turnblad, as Wilbur Turnblad, as Amber von Tussle, Michael St. Gerard as Link Larkin, as Seaweed, as Tammy, Shawn Alex Thompson as Corny Collins, as Beatnik Cat, as Beatnik Chick, Joann Havrilla as Prudence Pingleton

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.