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It's rare that a movie captures the intensity and excitement of a live Broadway musical production while appealing to a broader movie-going audience, but the 2007Hairsprayis an energetic, powerfully moving film that does just that. A remake of the 1988 musical filmHairspray, the newHairsprayis a film adaptation of the 2002 Broadway musical and features more likeable characters than the original film and an incredible energy that stems from a great cast, fabulous new music, and the influence of musical producer Craig Zadan. What remains constant throughout all three versions ofHairsprayis the story's thought-provoking exploration of prejudice and racism. Set in Baltimore in 1962, the film opens with chubby girl Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) singing her heart out in a rendition of "Good Morning Baltimore" that, while admittedly a bit too long, sets the farcical tone for the film. Viewers quickly become immersed in Tracy's teenage world of popular television dance shows, big hair, the stigma of being different, and the first hesitant steps toward racial integration within a segregated world. The Corny Collins (James Marsden) television dance show is a teenage obsession in Tracy's world and Link Larkin (Zac Efron) is every girl's dream partner, so when a call for auditions goes out, Tracy skips school to try out, but is rejected by station manager Velma von Tussle (Michelle Pfeiffer) because of her large size and the threat of competition for Velma's own daughter Amber (Brittany Snow). Perseverance and the support of her friend Penny (Amanda Bynes), father Wilbur (Christopher Walken), and negro dancer Seaweed (Elijah Kelley) lead Tracy to the spotlight and the chance of a lifetime, but more and more Tracy discovers that fairness and equality for those who are different does not come without a fight and that sacrifices must be made to effect change. While the message is serious,Hairsprayis first and foremost a comedy with stellar performances by John Travolta as Edna Turnblad (who ever imaginedSaturday Night Fever'siconic star would appear onscreen as a woman?), Christopher Walken, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Part of what makesHairsprayso powerful is the exceptional music composed by Marc Shaiman, including songs newly composed for the movie like "Ladies' Choice," "The New Girl in Town," and "Come So Far," and the awesome vocal talents of Queen Latifah (Motormouth Maybelle) and a cast of heretofore musically-unknown actors like Nikki Blonsky, Zac Efron, and Brittany Snow who really can sing. Notable trivia includes Jerry Stiller's appearance in both versions of the film (as Wilbur in the 1988 film and as Mr. Pinky in this 2007 rendition), and a cameo appearance by 1988 director and screenplay writer John Waters.Hairsprayis one of the best films of the year--it's powerfully moving entertainment that leaves you energized and motivated to fight for what you believe in.--Tami Horiuchi
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CastQueen Latifah, John Travolta, Christopher Walken, Zac Efron, Michelle Pffeifer
DirectorAdam Shankman
DVD Release Date:  November 20, 2007
Runtime:  117 minutes
Studio:  New Line Home Video
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review by . January 04, 2013
Going into this film, I'd never seen the theatrical version and in fact, knew nothing more other than "Good Morning, Baltimore". I haven't had as much fun with a film as I had with this 2007 edition in quite a long time. It's sweetly inspiring in its main character's brash naivete and so touching in its send-up of the 60s. Christopher Walken was pure genius and James Marsden was a delight, not to mention every other casting choice. This is the definition of a feel-good movie and one I'll be revisiting …
review by . December 02, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
This movie is just plain fun. John Travolta demonstrates his considerable talents by playing the obese Edna. The entire cast is marvelous, particularly Nikki Blonski, a newcomer, as Tracy and Amanda Bynes plays the sweet, at first naive Penny to a T. Oddly, Michele Pfeifer didn't seem up to the rest of the cast, but didn't drag them down either.     In any event, the cast works, the script works, the movie works.     It's a message movie with a light heart. …
review by . November 28, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
As much as I enjoy the original "Hairspray" featuring Ricki Lake, there's just something about this new version (a blend of the original film and the 2002 Broadway musical) that I really love. I won't go so far as to say that I prefer this version to the original, but it definitely does not stand in the 1988 film's shadow. Newcomer Nikki Blonsky takes the reins as Tracy Turnblad, the sweetly rebellious chubby girl who takes a stand (or a dance step) against prejudice and racism in 1962 Baltimore. …
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Hairspray (Widescreen Edition) (2007)
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