I walked in skeptical; after falling in love with the original movie and then once again with the Broadway play I was ready to be disappointed by the newest form of my favorite (well, maybe not my favorite, but top 5) musicals, but I left pleasantly surprised.
The newest ensemble was able to capture the sheer joy of the musical without crossing over into the over-showy cinema take on a classic, for example: Chicago, 2002.
Nikki Blonsky is the perfect Tracy Turnblad; she captures the whimsical dance enthusiast turned civil rights activist and makes it hard for the audience not to fall in love with her.
Although Blonsky shines I believe the breakout star of the movie is Elijah Kelley as Seaweed. His voice is the kind that is so magnetic it gives you ‘goose bumps’ and his presence on the camera brought me back to the Broadway stage unlike any of his fellow cast mates.
The only cast member that disappointed was John Travolta as Edna Turnblad. Honestly I don’t understand how he is getting such good reviews.
Maybe I was spoiled. I did see the original cast on Broadway, which was highlighted by Harvey Fierstein. Travolta’s voice fell flat and he didn’t command the same attention as Fierstein, or really any attention at all.
Hairspray is the kind of movie that keeps the audience in a euphoric mood by intermixing a great story with up-beat ballads such as “Hey Momma Welcome to the 60s.”
Grease for our generation? Maybe if Grease wasn’t based entirely in superficiality and had a legitimate message. Hairspray, on the other hand, surpasses movie/musical expectations.