Saturday, August 04, 2007

'Hairspray' ...

Wow. The original Hairspray is almost 20 years old. I don't remember when I saw it, but it can't be 20 years ago. Or can it? My 20th high school reunion is in October. Where the hell does the time go?

I saw Oprah raving about this version of the movie a couple months ago. She had the cast on her show before the summer hiatus and then reran the episode recently. So much has been made of John Travolta taking over the Divine role and so much has been made of cute little Nikki Blonsky's rise from Cold Stone Creamery dessert jockey to movie star that I found it a bit difficult to just watch the movie.

I was too busy watching John in drag and watching Nikki light up the screen.

It's an absolutely delightful movie, full of genuinely funny moments, but me, being me, I spent a good part of the movie wiping away tears. Not tears of laughter and not tears of sorrow but tears of gladness: I am genuinely thrilled for Nikki. What a dream come true. Can you imagine landing your first movie role, starring opposite John Travolta, Christopher Walken, and Michelle Pfeiffer? Not that Queen Latifah is chopped liver, but I get the sense that she's still pretty thrilled to be a new-ish member of this club, too.

Travolta's Edna is so much softer than Divine's ever was. She's adorable. You can't help but love her. Though it felt odd that for all the hours of makeup he sat through every day to morph into Edna's body that they didn't alter his masculine hands and forearms (see the picture below). Edna is a laundress, but her hands wouldn't look that bad. Maybe the filmmakers just wanted to keep us mindful of the fact that it's really a man in that body. But it's hard not to look at Edna's face and see John Travolta staring back at you.

John Watters, Ricki Lake, and Jerry Stiller all appear in this remake, in subtle ways. Well, Stiller's not subtle, but then, he never is. And Watters isn't subtle, but he doesn't have a lot of screen time. It's more of a Hitchcockian cameo. If Hitchcock was a flasher. But Ricki Lake's role is absolutely subtle. She's changed a lot from her turn as Tracy Turnblad.

Amanda Bynes is cute as always, and Christopher Walken could sit on a park bench and mutter to himself and I'd watch him. It's cute to see him having so much fun in a role, and the man should sing and dance more often. Hairspray is about as far as you can get from The Deer Hunter. And I didn't even know that Allison Janney has a part.

Oh, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Skinny gorgeous bitch. But I mean that in a good way. : o )

Not surprisingly, most of the audience today was women. There's not a lot of crossover audience for this and something like Live Free or Die Hard.

But it's absolutely worth your time. The phrase "feel-good movie of the year" was invented just so it could someday describe this film.



Anonymous Ethan said...


I was just going to email you and tell you to hie your blue a$$ down to the theatre to see this movie. Check the time stamp: 1am CT. We JUST got home from the late showing.

Say it with me: Fab-uuuuuu-loooooous!!!

And lots of couples tonight, insofar as people in TX went to the late show.

The rest of yas: GO!!!!! See this movie NOWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!

...I mean, it was just OK for me, dawg. :-)

1:09 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Yup, it's not just for women and gay men!

I mean, I don't think my father would have enjoyed it, but lots of guys will.

I heard people raving about it and thought, "Well, geez, how great can it be?"

It's totally great!

7:16 AM  
Anonymous girlanddog said...

Hmm... I just got dragged to see "Bourne Ultimatum" last night, so perhaps "Hairspray" is appropriate revenge. Thanks for the review!

4:14 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Oh, I'm looking forward to "Bourne Ultimatum." Sounds like you were less than thrilled with it, though!

5:02 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

I'll probably catch Hairspray on DVD. Right now I'm just looking forward to Stardust.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

If I may suggest, I'd really try to catch Hairspray in the theater. It's such an energetic movie, and the big screen helps convey the energy and emotion. And it's fun to see it with other people, to immerse yourself in the group dynamic.

I want to see Stardust, too. I'm a big Bobby DeNiro fan from waaaaay back. And Ricky Gervais is a god in anything he does.

9:29 PM  
Blogger thethinker said...

I still haven't found time to see Hairspray but I am really looking forward to it.

9:37 PM  

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