Reel Deal: Hairspray falls flat

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Viewing a movie like “Hairspray” should come with a warning. If it is a bright, catchy, campy family movie, do not watch when you are in a foul disposition. It will only get on your nerves, therefore making you slightly despise the movie while not having much reason to.

I confess I did not want to see this movie in the first place, as I figured it would just be another remake of a classic movie that was made in the 1980’s (1988, to be exact), only a musical. So I suppose it’s a remake of that flick, combined with elements of the Broadway show which is based upon the original.

I also did not understand the fervor over John Travolta, who plays the mother Edna Turnblad, donning a “fat-suit” and dressing like a woman. It is not the first time a man has dressed like a woman in real life, or in the movies. Color me annoyed when it seems that is all media outlets focused on.

I went to see this movie because my mother asked me to go with her. I didn’t want to put down my new Harry Potter book, but she gave me this look that would have made me feel even worse if I did not accompany her.

My mother definitely enjoyed the movie. I had to ask her to stop tapping her foot against the seat during the numerous musical scenes more than once. She actually laughed out loud during the viewing. I watched her sit somber faced while watching “Dumb and Dumber,” so “Hairspray” gets kudos for that.

However, I do not want to appear like Debbie Downer; this movie had a lot going on for it.

The first is the introduction of Nikki Blonsky, who plays the heroine of the film, Tracy Turnblad. She has a wonderful singing voice and seems so bubbly you can’t help but like her.

Christopher Walken (Wilbur Turnblad) is charming as the father to Tracy and husband to Edna. Honestly, how can you not like him? Walken always seems to be at his best in movies that feature him dancing. (See “The Deer Hunter”.)

Queen Latifah (Motormouth Maybelle) was her usual luminous self, especially during the scene where she, Tracy and many others march around Baltimore in support of integration. In my opinion, that was the best part of the movie. It wasn’t the songs (which I barely remember) or how beautifully lit the movie was, but it was the message of the acceptance of others that made it a good film.

I wouldn’t go as far to say it is one of the greatest musicals of all time, (I reserve that for “Cabaret” (1972) but if you’re in the mood for a bright and bouncy family movie, this is the one for you.

I gave this film a D+.

Dedra Cordle is a Messenger staff writer

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