Hairspray-Bring Back the Good Old Days

Hairspray is a good, old fashioned, all singing, all dancing musical. This is not a musical that apologizes for being a musical, it is one that embraces it. People break into song for no reason, dance in the streets, change clothes and sets at the drop of a hat, and seem to be having the times of their lives. This is a fun movie to watch.
John Travolta reportedly turned down the role of sleazy lawyer Billy Flynn in 2002’s Chicago, so that part could be played by the can’t-dance, can’t-sing talents of Richard Gere. So I was a bit surprised to hear that he was taking on the role of Edna Tumblad first portrayed by Divine in the 1988 movie and more recently by Harvey Feirstein on Broadway. He does a good enough job, but there never any doubt that this is man in a fat suit. Divine was famous for being a transvestite, I’m really sure why the other two here took the role.
The film is filled with little images designed to have that little flashback effect of-oh I remember that-and it works. The fact that the film is set in 1962, the year that I was born, does not hinder the the memories of the sixties that I do have. For instant, there is a scene where our hero dances through the teacher’s lounge at school and it so thickly laden with cigarette smoke you can barely make it out. This exactly matches my memories of the two or three times I found myself in the teacher’s lounges of my own schools. Drinking, smoking, hairspray, and artery clogging foods abound, making you wonder how any of us lived through those feel good times. And then there is the whole racial segregation thing to deal with. Only in a musical can a march on a television station not end in a bloody riot.
Dick Clark had a TV show that was a love letter to the sixties called American Dreams. In this show Brittany Snow played a pretty blond that danced on TV to popular music of the day. This Hairspray, Brittany Snow plays a pretty blond that dances on TV to popular music of the day. That’s funny.
So there are no surprises here. It is billed as a fun musical, and a fun musical is what it is. It made me think of Little Eva and Mama Cass, and that’s a good thing. There was a round of applause as the credits started to roll, and I was one of the ones clapping.

Jon Herrera

Jon Herrera

Writer, Photographer, Blogger.
Jon Herrera

Latest posts by Jon Herrera (see all)

Writer, Photographer, Blogger.

Posted in good movie, hairspray, john travolta, musical

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*