- Actors: John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Amanda Bynes, James Marsden
- Directors: Adam Shankman
- Producers: Neil Meron, Craig Zadan
- Format: PAL
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 2
- Classification: PG
- Studio: Eiv
- DVD Release Date: 19 Nov. 2007
- Run Time: 117 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (497 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B000VZZSGA
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,129 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Hairspray (2007) Shake & Shimmy Special Edition [DVD]
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Musical comedy starring John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer. Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) is an overweight teenager with all the right moves who is obsessed with the Corny Collins Show. Every day after school, she and her best friend Penny (Amanda Bynes) run home to watch the show and drool over the hot Link Larkin (Zac Efron), much to Tracy's mother Edna's (Travolta) 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 the help of her friend Seaweed (Elijah Kelly), Tracy makes it on the show, angering the evil dance queen Amber Von Tussle (Brittany Snow) and her mother Velma (Pfeiffer). 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 (Queen Latifah), her father (Christopher Walken) and Edna, she decides to take action.
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 2007 Hairspray is an energetic, powerfully moving film that does just that. A re-make of the 1988 musical film Hairspray the new Hairspray is 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 of Hairspray is 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 Marsdon) 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, Hairspray is first and foremost a comedy with stellar performances by John Travolta as Edna Turnblad (who ever imagined Saturday Night Fever's iconic star would appear onscreen as a woman?), Christopher Walken, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Part of what makes Hairspray so 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. Hairspray is 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 --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.
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Tracy Turnblad is happy with her teen life in 1962. And unrepressed joy bursts out through her feet and hips and mile-high, hairspray-shellacked bouffant as she dances down the streets of her beloved Baltimore.
Tracy also loves The Corny Collins Show, an American Bandstand-style TV program that she runs home every day after school to watch. If only she could dance on that show (and maybe even win the affections of the hunky-in-an-Elvis-sort-of-way Link) then her dreams would all come true. But Tracy's got a problem. She's too pleasingly plump for TV. And her size 60 mom implores her to give up on such silly hopes.
But Tracy dreams on. And then one day a spot opens on the show. Her best friend, Penny, and new "Negro" friend, Seaweed, both convince her that this is her big shot.
Tracy wows the judges, but she also earns a new enemy in Velma Von Tussle, the TV station's manager. Velma can't abide the idea of a fat girl dancing on her show and taking attention away from her beautiful daughter, Amber. She finds this as irritating as "Negro Day," an all-black show that she's forced to air once a month. The last straw? Tracy voices her opinion that the white kids and the Negro youth ought to dance side by side every day.
Velma starts scheming to make The Corny Collins Show Negro- and fat-free.
From the opening song, Good Morning Baltimore, Tracy is happy and optimistic about the possibilities of life. She's more than willing to stand by her new black friends, even though they warn her that it will mean trouble. When she realizes that things aren't always perfect ("I think I was living in a bubble or something. Thinking that fairness was just going to happen"), she refuses to let that fact dissuade her from seeking what's right.
Tracy's dad, Wilbur, comforts her and encourages her to work hard for her dreams. When Tracy gets a spot on the dance show, her mom apologizes for telling her not to try. Wilbur sings to his wife and points out how much he loves her ("When I need a lift/Time brings a gift/Another day with you"). Motormouth Maybelle, the black host of Negro Day, sings of the societal changes needed in the future ("To just sit still would be a sin"). Link is drawn both to Tracy's beauty and quality of character.
Tracy sings that her desire for something exciting in life is "like a message from high above." About her forever love for Link, she croons, "When we die, we'll look down from above."
Corny Collins crosses himself before the start of the show.
Penny's mom, who is depicted as a very controlling Christian woman, forbids her daughter to watch The Corny Collins Show. She does encourage Penny to pray for her friend, though. Randomly, she quotes a scripture from Genesis: "Let us make our father drink wine, and let us lie with him." (I'll deal with her in a little more depth in my "Conclusion.")
Velma pulls tissues out of a girl's stuffed bra during a break in filming, then walks over to a young man ... and he pulls a sock out of his pants. Velma references winning the title of Miss Baltimore and "screwing the judges" to get it. She later talks of risking communicable disease to win the pageant.
The camera seems obsessed with close looks at different dancers shaking their backsides (particularly Tracy's full-size real one and Edna's oversized fake one). Tracy rubs across her breast and slaps her backside during a dance. And the dancing gets a bit sensual at a platter party held in Motormouth's record shop.
Motormouth shows cleavage while wearing a muumuu. When Edna tells a store owner that her bra size is a 54 EEE, he says, "I hit the mother lode." Some of the girls wear tight and midriff-baring outfits. Velma wears a slinky dress while trying to seduce Wilbur. (He doesn't respond.)
Penny and Seaweed kiss a couple times, and Tracy and Link kiss on camera during the show. Singing about her love for Link, Tracy says, "I won't go all the way/But I'll go pretty far." Amber spreads rumors about Tracy having sex with the football team.
A handful of double entendres and innuendoes (some of which are racially charged), and a reference to one of the girls having to leave on a "nine-month break" round out the sexual nods. A man opens his trench coat and flashes a group of people on the street—but not the camera.
Amber falls, and is slapped in the face and elbowed around during an on-air production number.
CRUDE OR PROFANE LANGUAGE
"D--n" is said four or five times; "a--" once. "Oh my god" is exclaimed several times as well.
DRUG AND ALCOHOL CONTENT
A drunk passes out on the table at a bar. Later, pregnant women are seen drinking martinis and smoking. Tracy sings her way through the teacher's lounge (in which all of the adults smoke). Teens smoke in the girl's bathroom. Edna references drinking rum and Coke with the hoi polloi. Featured in Wilbur's gift shop is a toy donkey that dispenses cigarettes from, well, underneath its tail.
OTHER NEGATIVE ELEMENTS
When a patron complains that Edna's washing service fees are too high, she retorts with, "Some of your personal stains require pounding out with a rock." After Edna and Wilbur fight, he makes a whoopee cushion bed for himself and the gas jokes follow. Wilbur tries to sell candy in the shape of animal droppings.
Motormouth warns Penny that if she helps in the protest march she will receive "a whole lot of ugly coming from a never ending parade of stupid." Penny responds, "So, you've met my mom?"
Hairspray was created as a small and campy teen flick in 1988 by the subversively edgy writer/director John Waters. (He made his mark with such films as Pink Flamingos, which boasts a 400-pound transvestite who eats dog feces, and Polyester, which was presented with an accompanying scratch-and-sniff card to add noxious olfactory emphasis.) His original was eventually homogenized and transposed into Broadway musical form. And it's that tune-filled Tony-winner that has now found its way back to the mall multiplex.
On paper, this Hairspray has a lot going for it. The story of a young girl who stands up to prejudice in an early '60s Baltimore is inviting and cheer-worthy. Its actors are multi-talented and bring a broad appeal to their roles. Dancer-turned-director Adam Shankman (who also helmed Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and A Walk to Remember) gives every dancer's step and twist a polished charm. The music bounces and pleases from the opening number to the closing credits.
But, unfortunately, this musical picture is also oddly off key and off color; it's unnecessarily offensive and sometimes downright strange. Most bizarre is John Travolta's latex- and fat suit-laden portrayal of Edna Turnblad. As I watched his peculiarly accented performance and "dance of the hippos" musical numbers, I understood why he might want to take on this acting challenge. Though I'm not so sure why a director would want to cast him as her, or why an audience would want to watch what happens, short of experiencing the initial novelty.
Travolta isn't what makes this movie fall on its face, though. Responsible for that are a handful of profanities, sexual snickers, sleazed-up dance moves ... and one other significant thing: Virtually every white adult character is either a bigot or too stupid to care. The one "Christian"—a tightly-wound, pinch-faced, cross-carrier—is so mean she ties her daughter to the bed so the girl can't possibly leave the room and get mixed up with "those people." She leaves the bound girl to listen to a recording of the Lord's Prayer and spits out, "Devil's child!" on her way out.... sounds like a seen from The Exorcist doesn't it?. Just minus the vomit.
Not being a particular fan of musicals, there are a few diamonds that I'd happily admit I like, this isn't on par with them, but as a comical musical that teaches a lesson. Good enough for me.
It was delivered very quickly.
The film is done in a musical format. Some very well known film stars. Some, at the time, unknowns that have since become
reasonably well known through long term roles in TV series such as The White House and others.
John Travolta just has to be seen as an obese mother.
The music, whilst not as memorable as the likes of that in Grease is entertaining.
Overall, a film worth a couple of hours of entertainment and all the more so at the price I managed to get it for.
Joyously daft and upbeat, a very different prospect to the original film.
Songs that require repeated watching, likeable characters in the 60s segregated setting, a daytime dancing TV show and John Travolta in a dress.
A tubby teen, Tracey Turnblad dreams of being a dancer on the Corny Collins show, and gets her chance to audition. Can she get the cute boy to notice her? Can she help make Corny's Negro Day more than once a month?
Brilliantly written songs, this is a joy from beginning to end.