Hairspray | Chicago Reader

Hairspray

Adam Shankman's 2007 movie version of the Broadway hit—itself based on John Waters's 1988 film—satirizes prejudice about race, class, and physical appearance in 1962 Baltimore. Plump, peppy teenager Tracy Turnblad (lovable newcomer Nikki Blonsky) crusades to integrate a local TV dance show and helps restore romance to the marriage of her eccentric dad (Christopher Walken) and overweight mom (John Travolta, in drag). With its wisecracking screenplay, period-perfect pop score, and Shankman's splashy choreography, this may be the funniest, dancingest screen musical since Singin' in the Rain. The inspired cast includes Queen Latifah, Amanda Bynes, Jerry Stiller, Michelle Pfeiffer as Tracy's snobbish nemesis, Allison Janney as a religious fanatic, and Waters as a flasher.

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