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Hairspray (2007)Hairspray (2007)

From its opening song to its closing moral, this musical period piece succeeds in every way. Set in urban Baltimore in 1962, Tracy Turnblad is an overweight but vivacious teenager who dances in front of her TV as she watches the Corny Collins Show. If only she could have such a life! When the show has an opening, she auditions, gets the part, and, to the chagrin of the cool crowd, causes the show's ratings to skyrocket. Tracy is irrepressible and impossible not to love. She also has an eye for fairness, like dumping the show's Negro Day. She ads a gentle but direct moral to the musical. Looking back to 1962, the film deconstructs any number of prejudices, including race, gender, class, media, family, friendship, and especially body image. When Tracy begs her obese Mom (played by John Travolta) to be her agent, she declines since she has hardly left the house in decades. Tracy insists: "Mom, it's changing out there, you'll like it. People who are different, their time is coming." Mom leaves the house and exclaims, "there's so much air our here!" Hairspray is fun, energetic, nostalgic, and, believe it or not, even meaningful. With a PG rating it makes for fun family viewing and good discussion.

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