August 05, 2007

Can't Stop the Beat

It's no secret I love musicals. From Rent to Wicked to Moulin Rouge, I enjoy the stories, the music, and the meshing of the two. This love stays strong despite the fact my attempts at singing would cause ears to start bleeding.

However, I was not sure what to expect from Hairspray. The movie's primary selling point seemed to be John Travolta in a fat suit, and I just didn't find that image appealing. In the end, my Broadway fan-boyishness led me to the theater, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Although this film is set in the 1960s and looks at racial segregation, the obvious point of the production is to have fun. While Rent takes itself very seriously, Hairspray does not. For example, lead character Tracy Turnblad misses her school bus and is late for class because she is too busy singing and dancing for the first musical number. She is even pelted in the face with a dodgeball because of another number. Sight-gags and one-liners about the culture of the '60s can be seen and heard throughout the film. I'd share a few of them, but I think they are much funnier if you don't see them coming.

Because it also deals with race and racism, the film obviously has a few serious moments. And while racial integration might have been controversial in the 1960s theater, I doubt there are many people today who would disagree with this movie politically.

Even through the brief serious moments, the unabashed goal of the movie is to entertain. It wants to make people smile and laugh, and it succeeds. It has a strong cast with (for the most part) excellent vocal ability. The choreography is a bit weird, but so were the 1960s.

If you enjoy musicals, I'd highly recommend Hairspray. If I can't remember the last time I saw a PG-rated movie that I actually enjoyed and would recommend to others.

Posted by Randy at August 5, 2007 01:04 PM | TrackBack