'Hairspray' Sets Critics on Fire

High-camp movie version charms even the skeptical
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Jul 20, 2007 3:48 PM CDT
'Hairspray' Sets Critics on Fire
In this photo released by New Line Cinema, actors John Travolta, left, wearing a female fat suit, and Nikki Blonsky appear in a scene from the film musical "Hairspray." (A Photo/New Line Cinema, David James)   (Associated Press)

With its cheerfully loony evocation of the 60s, "Hairspray" has scored big with reviewers. "The movie's style and exuberance torpedoed my misgivings within seconds," says the LATimes. The movie-turned-musical-turned-movie is also being praised for its star turns, by a fatsuited John Travolta and plump newcomer Nikki Blonsky. 

The WashPost, meanwhile, says the "real star"  is director-choreographer Adam Shankman. Other critics were impressed with the movie's "stick up for the outsider" theme and snark-free tone. And most liked the way Travolta turned the once terrifying transvestite Edna Turnblad into a genial character. By all accounts, Travolta  plays the character, well, straight. (More Hairspray stories.)

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