August 02, 2007

Hairspray is Upbeat, Big-Haired, Fun

Rather than fall in the trap of the Wednesday mid-week doldrums, Kristine and I took in the much-anticipated movie, Hairspray, last night, watching a unique, plump high schooler with rhythm challenge the status quo, shimmying her way on stage to a local televised dance show, and in the process, resetting expectations for how the community looked at women without the typical model's body, while also taking up the cause for racial integration in the tumultuous 1960s.

While much of the show's promotion has centered around its two extremely well known big stars, John Travolta and Christopher Walken, it's the main star, a Nikki Blonsky, who owns the movie, and does a great job, starting out way too perky for a weekday morning, and despite society's expectations for how a chubby girl should act, refuses to fatigue under criticism or high school's typical hard knocks, which includes multiple visits to detention.

In fact, while Travolta is a semi-convincing mother in drag, wearing a fat suit, it's Blonsky who is at center stage throughout the film, getting you to root for her, and root against the comparatively evil Michelle Pfeiffer, who holds a key role at the TV show, and promotes her daughter to center stage, with her typical skinny blonde looks and grating personality. Blonsky makes the movie worth watching, with her unquestionable enthusiasm and drive to reach her goals.

While I could be grumpy and say I found the film over-reaching, that one plump little white girl couldn't single-handedly redirect the course of race relations in a matter of weeks through a TV show and a single march, and I could bag on the show for some of the songs going way too long, it was fun to see, just past the point of believability. I only wish the movie could have had a little more Christopher Walken, and a little less Queen Latifah.