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Hairspray (2007)


Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 212
Fresh: 193
Rotten: 19

Critics Consensus: Hairspray is an energetic, wholly entertaining musical romp; a fun Summer movie with plenty of heart. Its contagious songs will make you want to get up and start dancing.

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Reviews Counted: 48
Fresh: 46
Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: Hairspray is an energetic, wholly entertaining musical romp; a fun Summer movie with plenty of heart. Its contagious songs will make you want to get up and start dancing.


Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 761,427


Movie Info

Sixteen years after the release of the original film, New Line Cinema brings a feature film adaptation of the Tony award-winning Broadway production "Hairspray" to life. Based on John Waters' 1988 cult classic about star-struck teenagers on a local Baltimore dance show, the comedy features new and original material.

PG (for language, some suggestive content and momentary teen smoking)
Musical & Performing Arts , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Leslie Dixon , Mark O'Donnell
In Theaters:
Nov 20, 2007
Box Office:
New Line Cinema - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Hairspray

All Critics (212) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (193) | Rotten (19) | DVD (12)

For a star-studded big-budget musical, Hairspray does a nice job of retaining the funky sweetness of the original.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

Bright, campy and wonderfully light, Hairspray reminds us that fun comes in all shapes and sizes. It's also one of the few 'event' movies this summer that doesn't outstay its welcome. That's worth singing about, no matter what your name is.

Full Review… | July 28, 2007
Top Critic

Waters cultists have ample reason to be wary, but the film retains a surprisingly subversive edge that undercuts its blinding surface gloss.

Full Review… | July 26, 2007
AV Club
Top Critic

It's amiable, it's bouncy, it's got a sweet unknown in the lead flanked by a cast of bankable stars and, providing as it does an amiable and bouncy and sweet escape from a summer's worth of clunky blockbusters.

Full Review… | July 20, 2007
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Hairspray is an infectious aerosol comedy with nearly every hair in place.

Full Review… | July 20, 2007
Denver Post
Top Critic

Hairspray is one of the most enjoyable translations of a Broadway musical to the big screen ever.

Full Review… | July 20, 2007
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

If any movie musical could threaten the standing of retro favourite Grease, it's this one.

Full Review… | August 4, 2013
Radio Times

Director-choreographer Adam Shankman has come up with one of the purest entertainments of the summer.

Full Review… | August 4, 2013
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

It pays respect to the original while also carving its own image as a truly good musical.

Full Review… | September 8, 2012
Cinema Crazed

Much as Hairspray serves as a showcase for the effervescent charms of newcomer Blonsky, its greatest trick is to revitalise the careers of a few old Hollywood faithfuls.

Full Review… | July 14, 2011
Digital Spy

In alchemy the transmuting of materials between forms distills them to their purest elements. In film, the opposite is true. The more iterations, the more muddled things get. Hairspray is good at what it does but not everything it does is good.

Full Review… | March 22, 2011

Much of the fun comes from director-choreographer Adam Shankman's happy acceptance of musical staples

Full Review… | August 27, 2009

Shankman's crassly theatrical attenuation of Hairspray only draws gay culture away from a moment of American history with which it ought to have a great deal in common

Full Review… | August 8, 2009
Reverse Shot

It falls to individual efforts by the cast to keep the eye and ear coming back for more.

Full Review… | July 23, 2009

Hairspray is an energetic romp, but as a social statement -- which it pretends to be -- it's cartoonish. And as a playful look back at a time and place, it's simplistic shtik. It's a mountain of whipped cream, with an occasional chocolate sprinkle.

Full Review… | February 2, 2009
Fayetteville Free Weekly

I will confess that Travolta totally turned me around. A mountain of a woman in his female fat suit, he commits 150% to the role.

Full Review… | August 23, 2008

The most refreshing and enjoyable musical of this century%u2014Hairspray.

Full Review… | July 22, 2008
Paste Magazine

Even if the new Hairspray seems a welcome return to camp for Travolta, his mock seriousness is as frozen as ever.

Full Review… | July 10, 2008
Bright Lights Film Journal

The film works best for me when they are making fun of the racial climate of the 1960s.

Full Review… | March 3, 2008
The Scorecard Review

An amazing cast sings and dances across the screen with such flair and passion its completely infectious.

Full Review… | February 2, 2008
Cinema Sight

Caso tivesse 20 minutos e alguns números musicais a menos, Hairspray poderia ser uma surpresa tão divertida quanto o original (que tampouco é um clássico). Inchado como ficou, porém, é apenas um passatempo pouco memorável.

Full Review… | January 16, 2008
Cinema em Cena

Like your high school's production of "Grease": A musical about sex with a chastity belt strapped to its waist.

Full Review… | December 11, 2007
Film Snobs

One's enjoyment of Adam Shankman's motion picture will largely depend on one's tolerance for conflict-less, feel good musicals.

Full Review… | December 6, 2007

Some magical balance between the cast members, the set design, the songs and director Adam Shankman makes it work.

Full Review… | December 6, 2007
Combustible Celluloid

Though colorful, cheery and energetic, there's something missing from this song-and-dance routine.

Full Review… | November 30, 2007
Lessons of Darkness

Audience Reviews for Hairspray

Brilliant cast and music. Story about a girl called Tracy who wants to be a dancer on her favourite TV show the Corny Collins Show. Corny is played by James Marsden, who is very cute. It has serious moments when it touchs on the social divisions between races in the 1960s. It takes a little while to get used to John Travolta in character. Link (Zac Efron) is very handsome. Great songs. Look out for a cameo by Ricki Lake (talent scout).

Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

Hairspray really didn't do it for me whatsoever. I felt that this movie was quite overrated and it really wasn't as good as what many critics have said it to be. I was just bored with this film, and I felt it could have been much better and it really didn't have anything memorable. As a musical, this film doesn't do anything refreshing or original and it fails to really entertain like other classic musicals. There is nothing going on here to make this a fun, entertaining ride from start to finish, and I was let down by this film. I really wanted to enjoy this film, but I simply didn't get into it. Acting wise, I felt many actors misses the mark, and overdid it. John Travolta being one of them. This film relied on an over the top script that tried to do too much with its ideas for a plot. This could have worked, but the director doesn't deliver, and Adam Shankman is a bad director who never has made anything worth watching. His direction is sloppy, and he tries to do far too much with the film's plot, and he ends up delivering a film that is cheesy and pitiful and doesn't deliver. Even the great Christopher Walken is wasted here. Hairspray is a pointless film that could have been so much better than what it turned out to be. I really didn't like the film, and felt it missed the mark. This film disappointed me, and I was more annoyed most of the time. This film is more for a teen audience looking for laughs, and I can see the appeal, but as for me I didn't like it, and for me the ultimate musical is The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

I'm not sure what the point is of this film. A film version of a musical version based on the original film. Talk about bastardised. I had no problem with the cast, although John Travolta was an odd choice as the Divine replacement but it worked with the rest of the film, which is to say, not particularly well. I think the message of the original was lost, the original worked better using the music of the time, the music written for the musical was so 'Musical' sounding, like they took a forgettable song from another musical and just changed the lyrics. More pointless than offencive but not all bad.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer


Let me get something off my chest about this film: John Travolta looks terrible in a drag role, and he must feel so humiliated just for that role. Whew! HAIRSPRAY isn't perfect, but it feels good, and it is danceable and free-spirited. Though extremely quirky and highly overrated, I enjoyed it, and I thought it was a nice, easy touch of a wild teen mood (keeping it at a PG rating, which is rare for many musical-based films of the modern day). I can't speak in comparison with the stage musical or the 1980s original, as my eyes have not yet met either one, but the film is on my to-do list; I fear the stage musical may not live up to its money's worth.

Alexander Diminiano

Super Reviewer

Hairspray Quotes

Edna Turnblad:
Oh, Wilbur, to think that I almost stopped her from reaching for the stars!
Wilbur Turnblad:
And now here she is on local daytime TV.
– Submitted by Julia P (9 months ago)
Motormouth Maybelle:
[to kids] Well, looks like y'all took a step out of bounce, who do we have here?
Seaweed J. Stubbs:
Mama I want you to meet my new friends, this here's Link and this is Tracy Turnblad
Tracy Turnblad:
This is just so afrotastic!
Motormouth Maybelle:
[looks at Tracy]
Seaweed J. Stubbs:
[grabs Penny] and this here is Penny Pingleton
Penny Pingleton:
I'm very pleased and scared to be here
Motormouth Maybelle:
Oh honey we've got more reason to be scared on your street [walks over to Latoya whose messing with a record] Latoya put that record down you gonna scratch it!
– Submitted by Matthew C (20 months ago)
Tracy Turnblad:
[to Miss Whimsey] Miss Whimsey what am I to do? Hair can't just sit there like a dead thing on your cheeks.
– Submitted by Matthew C (20 months ago)
Edna Turnblad:
[to Velma Von Tussle] Smile Miss Crab Meat you're on candid camera.
Wilbur Turnblad:
That was a good shot.
Velma Von Tussle:
[laughs] What are you doing? GET THAT THING AWAY FROM ME! GO TO COMMERCIAL! GO!
– Submitted by Matthew C (22 months ago)
Amber Von Tussle:
Right now, as we speak, your daughter has entered a hotbed of moral... turpentine.
– Submitted by Katherine R (2 years ago)
Prudy Pingleton:
Devil's Child! [sprinkles water on Penny] Devil's Child!
– Submitted by Matthew D (2 years ago)

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