New Line Cinema
Nicole Blonsky, John Travolta
The pillaging and plundering of classic cinema for hollow Hollywood rehashes is nothing new, but there are few recent examples as execrable as Hairspray
. This screen-to-stage-to-screen disaster spits in the face of John Waters' decade-defining pop pastiche of harmonious camp and progressive thinking, retaining the basic plotline and anti-segregationist morals but none of the authenticity. Eschewing the original film's great period tunes (and the racial overtones embedded in them) for Marc Shaiman pap and sentimental lyrics, Hairspray
takes a perfect rock & roll musical and pounds it into a derivative Broadway musical. Newcomer Nikki Blonsky is charming in the lead role of plump Tracy Turnblad, who becomes an overnight sensation on a trendy dance program only to find herself engulfed in the sociopolitical zeitgeist of the '60s. But for a ballooned John Travolta doing a pitiful Divine impression, and the similarly self-parodic Christopher Walken as his huckster husband, it's safe to say the final nail has been hammered into their credibility coffins. Director Adam Shankman is banking on our inability to tell genuine sleaze from artificial sleaze, and authentic '60s experience from bogus generational clichés. Hairspray
is an attempt at camp by filmmakers (and Broadway lyricists) who have no idea what that means.