July 25, 2007

Big Girls Are Beautiful

I see a spectrum of stage musicals brought to film in recent years. On the one side we have a film like The Producers (a wonderful idea gone horribly wrong - we'll call that a One), and on the other would be Chicago (so good it rivals the original - a Ten). So where would I put the latest - Hairspray? I'd give it a Six.

On the plus side (no pun intended), there are some really strong performances. James Marsden is wonderful, and Nikki Blonsky was certainly destined for this role. We get a lot of nice footage of "real" Baltimore. And there are some laugh out loud funny moments.

But the real problem is just that the movie lacks the magic and energy that you get in the stage show. Whereas the original begins with the whole cast singing good morning to Baltimore, the movie turns it into a solo for Tracy, with some soft disembodied back-up singing. It's not really until we get to the Corny Collins show that things start to pick up.

And then there is John Travolta. My expectation was that he would ruin the film, and I'm happy to say he doesn't. But at the same time he is still just wrong for the role of Tracy's mother. He never lets us forget for a moment that he's a man in a dress. Yeah, John, we GET IT ya big Scientologist closet case!

Is the movie worth seeing? I think so, but you could certainly wait to rent it.

Yet the movie experience proved to be well worth it for us. Why? Super kick-ass previews for Elizabeth: The Golden Age (a sequel to Cate Blanchett's wonderful performance) and The Golden Compass (can't wait)!

1 comment:

The Kara said...

I heart you but, respectfully sir, I have to disagree. I think it's at least a B. I submit to all those in blog land - Christopher Walken plays the father and has a love scene dancing number with John Travolta - worth the price of the ticket alone! It's true that it does not capture the true quirkiness of the original movie and the musical but it's super fun and did make me smile... and that's all I need.