While I am an avid fan of selected musicals, I have never really seen Hairspray onstage. What had me running to the movie theater with friends was seeing a trailer of John Travolta playing the lead character's mom. You bet I was darned curious!
Hairspray is an interesting mix of post 50s fashion and political agendas stuffed in a feel-good entertainment package. The movie starts off with a rather short and plump Tracy Turnblad (Nikky Blonsky), who sings and dances to "Good Morning Baltimore!" all the way to school. From the previews, you might already have gleaned that this girl will audition for a role in some TV show and phenomenally rise to the top. What can't be seen in the previews, however, is that she has a vision of integrating the "coloreds" and the whites -- Tracy Turnblad sees people through their talent and not through the color of their skin.
What really shocked me was how, despite her size, rising actress Blonsky moved with such grace and lightness. She also oozed with such surprising confidence that Tracy's character completely deviated from the stereotypical angst-ridden, insecure, uncontrollable eaters that vertically-challenged people often portrayed in Hollywood. Tracy's love interest, Link Larkin (Zac Efron), also did pretty well. In fact, I believe they've achieved on-screen chemistry together. The acting was so convincing that I forgot about the size factor. The moment Link started showing signs that he was intrigued, I felt the butterflies in my stomach flutter.
Of course, the object of my curiosity, John Travolta, who plays Edna Turnblad, did not disappoint. Everyone knows the man can dance, but to see him prance in high heels and all that padding was an absolute joy. Watching him romance Christopher Walken, who plays Wilbur Turnblad, tickled me pink and I left the theater with a huge grin plastered on my face.
Having Michelle Pfeiffer as the nasty Velma Von Tussle was a bonus, too. I can see no one else playing that role. Only her timeless beauty can capture the essence of a young pageant winner who turns into a mean-spirited, conniving stage mother. She's the Wicked Witch of the West -- in cotton candy pink.
Ah, the glitz, the glamour, the colors...and all that hairspray. It's the perfect ending to a completely busy day.
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