Full disclosure: I enjoyed this film so much that when it finished I switched to the +1 channel and watched the last hour over again.
Then I watched it again the next weekend.
I wish I was joking.
Hairspray is a musical set in 1960s Baltimore which follows the efforts of possibly-slightly-overweight Tracie Turnblad to dance her way onto the Corny Collins Show, a daytime TV programme featuring, well, dancing. Oh, and she does a bit of racism-whacking on the way, too.
To be honest, it had me at “musical”. I’m a sucker for musicals, and this is a particularly good one, funny and involved and star-studded. We’ve John Travolta playing a woman, Alison Janney off The West Wing as a strict Catholic mother (“Having nothing builds character!”), that guy from Enchanted as Corny Collins, and Amanda Bynes as Tracy’s best friend. There are plots within plots (SO MANY PLOTS) which, however, never get confusing and are all resolved nicely in the closing scene, and some excellent tongue-in-cheek humour (I was particularly fond of Tracy’s detention for “inappropriate hair height”).
And, of course, the music. That is, without doubt, the best thing about Hairspray. The opening number, “Good Morning Baltimore”, just conveys that infectious love for home with irresistible joy and charm, and sets up an upbeat mood of general cheerfulness with the world which builds all the way through the film. I defy anyone not to dance along to the insanely catchy final number, “You Can’t Stop the Beat”. (I’m actually listening now, and doing a little shoulder-dance. It’s that good.)
If you ever need cheering up, Hairspray is definitely your friend. Upbeat, catchy and sassy: what else could you ask from a musical?