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Hairspray (2007)

Hairspray. Feature film. (2007, 117 mins) IMDB

...When your hair is that big, you probably do need hairspray....

H

airspray is a musical set in the early 1960s in Baltimore, USA when racial segregation existed (thankfully it was finally destroyed). It's a time when music was evolving and TV was growing and popular. A time of B&W TV and only a handful of stations to choose from.

Since it's a musical, there are lots and lots of song and dance numbers. That's a given and this film is loaded with them, but unlike the hay-day of musicals with Astaire, Kelly, Minnelli, there are no grand dance numbers. The emphasis is on the songs. There's a campy, in the period style, not big theatrical numbers.

The film starts when our hero wakes up at seven in the morning to go to school and she sings and dances through the entire process.

Since it's a musical, the chance there is a love story in it is good, and there is, but it's not the central plot of the film, but part of it.

I was surprised to see John Travolta in drag as the mother to our hero. He wears not just women's clothes and makeup and wig, but a fat suit. Even with the alterations, we know it's him.

Christopher Walken plays the husband and father to our hero. I'm sure Ebert will say warm things about him. The best scene I thought was a number with Travolta and Walken.

I've seen better movies, seen better musicals. It has moments of charms, moment of laughs and indignation, but I never got into the story and rally wasn't taken in by the songs. Maybe I expected more.

Posted 2009/02/28 at 17h44ET in Movie Commentary.

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