×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hairspray

John Waters' appreciation for the tacky side of life is in full flower in Hairspray, a slight but often highly amusing diversion about integration, big girls' fashions and music-mad teens in 1962 Baltimore.

With:
Sonny Bono Ruth Brown Divine Colleen Fitzpatrick Michael St Gerard Deborah Harry

John Waters’ appreciation for the tacky side of life is in full flower in Hairspray, a slight but often highly amusing diversion about integration, big girls’ fashions and music-mad teens in 1962 Baltimore.

Ricki Lake, chubette daughter of Divine and Jerry Stiller, overcomes all to become queen of an afternoon teenage dance show, much to the consternation of stuck-up blond Colleen Fitzpatrick, whose parents are Deborah Harry and Sonny Bono.

Divine spits out some choice bon mots while denigrating her daughter’s pastime, but finally rejoicing in her success, takes Lake off for a pricelessly funny visit to Hefty Hideaway, where full-figure girls can shop to their hearts’ content.

Divine, so big he wears a tent-like garment big enough for three ordinary mortals to sleep in, is in otherwise fine form in a dual role. Harry has little to do but act bitchy and sport increasingly towering wigs, while Pia Zadora is virtually unrecognizable as a beatnik chick. All the kids in the predominantly teenage cast are tirelessly enthusiastic.

Popular on Variety

Hairspray

Production: Buchthal/New Line Cinema. Dir John Waters; Producer Rachal Talalay, Stanley F. Buchthal, John Waters; Screenplay John Waters; Camera David Insley; Editor Janice Hampton; Music Bonnie Greenberg Art Dir Vincent Peranio

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1988. Running time: 90 MIN.

With: Sonny Bono Ruth Brown Divine Colleen Fitzpatrick Michael St Gerard Deborah Harry

More Film

  • Jimmy Stewart Lisa Lu

    New Book ‘Hollywood Chinese’ Dives Into Forgotten History

    Growing up in San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood during the 1960s, Chinese American filmmaker and author Arthur Dong saw plenty of people who looked like him in his community. But on-screen at the movies was a different story: Portrayals of Asian people leaned heavily into stereotypes or, worse, were outright offensive and with many roles played [...]

  • Waltz For Monica

    Swedish Publishing Icon Inspires Project by 'Waltz for Monica' Screenwriter

    Peter Birro, the successful Swedish screenwriter of “438 Days” and “Waltz for Monica,” has partnered with prominent journalist and producer Christina Birro to develop the screenplay for “Elda & Amelia,” a story inspired by the life and career of publishing executive and businesswoman Amelia Adamo and her mother. Naima Abed and Emilie Georges, whose production [...]

  • CBS HEADQUARTERS

    CBS-Viacom Merger Details Revealed, Shares to Trade on Nasdaq

    Negotiations between CBS and Viacom went down to the wire on the day the long-gestating transaction was finally sealed on Aug. 13. CBS Corp. and Viacom revealed the timeline of the merger talks in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Thursday that runs more than 650 pages. Also Thursday, CBS and Viacom said the shares [...]

  • The Jesus Rolls

    Rome Film Review: 'The Jesus Rolls'

    The Jesus lives! The oddball bowling obsessive immortalized by John Turturro in “The Big Lebowski” resurfaces two decades later in “The Jesus Rolls,” a road movie every bit as eccentric as the character he played in the 1998 cult favorite. In a way, the “Lebowski” connection does a disservice to Turturro’s film — an in-spirit [...]

  • Abominable

    Malaysia Orders Cuts to 'Abominable' Over Controversial Map Scene

    Malaysia has ordered cuts to the U.S.-Chinese animated feature “Abominable,” which includes a scene involving a map that portrays China’s contested territorial claims in the South China Sea. The map scene has already caused the film to be banned in Vietnam. The Philippines’ foreign minister, Teodoro Locsin, called this week for “Abominable” to be boycotted, [...]

  • Kung Fu Panda 3

    Universal's Beijing Resort to Partner With Alibaba on Digitization

    Amid fierce controversy about the leverage China has over U.S. entertainment firms with significant mainland operations, Universal Beijing Resort and Alibaba announced a strategic partnership Thursday to digitize the forthcoming theme park in China’s capital. Facial recognition and the use of big data will be the norm at the new resort, which will use an [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content