Rating: PG for language, some suggestive content, and momentary teen smoking
Cast: Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken
Director: Adam Shankman
Recommended for: Dads and kids
Age Groups: 11 +
Running Time: 117 minutes
Release Date: July 20, 2007
The verdict is in: Hairspray is one of the best musicals in town for dads for dads and kids to enjoy. If you didn’t catch the bug with John Water’s version in 1988, then prepare to have your family’s musical heart won over completely by the full Technicolor treatment 19 years hence.
Based on the original Broadway musical by the same name, the movie is set in 1962 Baltimore. Its adorable protagonist happens to be a “pleasantly plump” girl named Tracy Turnblad, an aspirant of stardom, who wants to make her dancing debut on the “The Corny Collins Show.” While her attitude and style seem a natural fit in for the show, Tracy’s plus-sized figure doesn’t quite qualify. But here’s a girl who just can’t be stopped. Tracy is fearless and fights discrimination with her vivacious musical talents, winning over hearts and minds across America.
The movie’s stronger cultural element is evoked when Tracy sees her closest friends encountering racial discrimination at school. Matters get worse when the TV show Tracy is on decides to cancel its popular “Negro Day” segment. The next day, Tracy throws her lot in with her friends as they march out against segregation. This is where the film offers a quirky look into America’s racial past.
Tracy makes for an amazing larger-than-life character for kids to watch as she shimmies and shakes her way towards her dreams. Her optimism and her die-hard attitude in face of obstacles is a great example for kids to look up to. The music’s great, the character are colorful satirical stereotypes, and the pace never seems to slow down even for a minute.
There are real heart-warming moments for dads to share with kids like when the father tells a heartbroken Tracy to “Go for it! You’ve got to think big to be big!” In our view, that’s the kind of message you would want to bring home to your kids on your way back from the movies.