Hairspray Reviews

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Noel Murray
The Dissolve
March 10, 2014
While it's corny by design, Hairspray also aims to get at something truthful, about the various kinds of prejudice [...] and how youthful optimism and music made a difference [...].
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Heather Boerner
Common Sense Media
December 18, 2010
A kitschy teen fantasy you can dance to.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Leo Goldsmith
Reverse Shot
August 8, 2009
The shock Waters's cinema offers, then, is not transcendent, but almost reflexive, implicating the viewer in the awkward complexities of his own humanity and forcing him to either celebrate it or run screaming away.
Top Critic
Pauline Kael
New Yorker
May 28, 2008
When Divine's Edna Turnblad is on-screen in the sleeveless dresses she's partial to, the movie has something like the lunacy of a W. C. Fields in drag.
Tim Brayton
Antagony & Ecstasy
September 12, 2007
The Waters film for your grandma, who will probably be only a little bit freaked out by it.
Full Review | Original Score: 8/10
Kim Newman
Empire Magazine
July 16, 2007
Thoroughly deserving of its cult status.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5

TV Guide's Movie Guide
July 16, 2007
Controversial filmmaker John Waters finally hits his commercial stride in this film, parlaying his keen social observation and great compassion for society's outsiders into a colorful and engaging comedy full of dancing, music and heartfelt nostalgia.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
July 16, 2007
Not only Waters's best movie, but a crossover gesture that expands his appeal without compromising his vision one iota; Ricki Lake as the hefty young heroine is especially delightful.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Felix Vasquez Jr.
Cinema Crazed
July 14, 2007
Has a great message is endlessly entertaining, and come on you have to love Motormouth Maybelle...
Emanuel Levy
October 9, 2006
One of John Waters' best films, and also one that was "palatable" to the strudios and accessible to the mass public in its charming theme and effective blend of faded stars and offbeat celebs.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Derek Adams
Time Out
June 24, 2006
Waters' most hygienically commercial film is a Retro schlock-fancier's delight.
Cole Smithey
November 6, 2005
Fun, fun, fun.
| Original Score: 4/5
Bill Gibron
DVD Verdict
August 22, 2005
Certainly Waters would argue that all his films end on an upbeat note. But [Hairspray] is the first time the joy seems genuine, not just perversely plastered on.
Full Review | Original Score: 98/100
Nick Schager
Lessons of Darkness
May 4, 2005
The defining moment in the auteur's career-long dedication to lionizing Baltimore's misfit population.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Clint Morris
March 23, 2005
A Zany delight.....Lake is outstanding!
| Original Score: 3/5
Mike McGranaghan
Aisle Seat
February 26, 2004
A John Waters classic
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Janet Maslin
New York Times
May 20, 2003
The actors are best when they avoid exaggeration and remain weirdly sincere. That way, they do nothing to break the vibrant, even hallucinogenic spell of Mr. Waters's nostalgia.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Jeffrey M. Anderson
San Francisco Examiner
March 27, 2003
A perfect mixture of old trashy Waters and a new kinder, gentler Waters.
| Original Score: 5/5
Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
August 26, 2002
One of the great films of the '80s and as close to perfect as Waters has gotten
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Scott Weinberg
July 26, 2002
Waters' most accessible bout of cinematic insanity.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
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