Hairspray - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hairspray Reviews

Top Critic
Bob Mondello
NPR.org
October 18, 2008
For a star-studded big-budget musical, Hairspray does a nice job of retaining the funky sweetness of the original.
Top Critic
July 28, 2007
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.
Top Critic
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
July 26, 2007
Waters cultists have ample reason to be wary, but the film retains a surprisingly subversive edge that undercuts its blinding surface gloss.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
July 20, 2007
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
John Moore
Denver Post
July 20, 2007
Hairspray is an infectious aerosol comedy with nearly every hair in place.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Lawson Taitte
Dallas Morning News
July 20, 2007
Hairspray is one of the most enjoyable translations of a Broadway musical to the big screen ever.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Joanne Kaufman
Wall Street Journal
July 20, 2007
The movie is a throwback to MGM musicals of the '50s. But it's a giddy, unselfconscious throwback. That in itself is refreshing.
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
July 20, 2007
It's hard to keep a smile off your face and your toes from tapping during this unpretentious and spirited adaptation of the stage musical by director/choreographer Adam Shankman.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
July 20, 2007
At the risk of sounding as manic as Corny Collins, Baltimore's answer to Dick Clark, this latest screen incarnation is guaranteed to flip your wig.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
July 20, 2007
With its zesty dancing, strong performances, goofball details and sweet message of acceptance for all, Hairspray might just be this summer's happiest hit.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
July 20, 2007
Enjoyable movies are released every week, but movies that have the capacity to delight -- movies like Hairspray -- are few and far between.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
July 20, 2007
Adam Shankman's Hairspray is a great big sloppy kiss of entertainment for audiences weary of explosions, CGI effects and sequels, sequels, sequels.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
July 20, 2007
Hairspray delivers an even bigger sugar rush than the hit Broadway musical, which had already expanded on the exuberance of the 1988 John Waters comedy that spawned it.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
July 20, 2007
Marc Shaiman's peppy music conspires with Shankman's energized, retro-musical choreography to make for a giant cinematic grin -- a dimpled dental testament of faith in the powers of nice over nasty, tolerance over bigotry and aerosol over the ozone.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
July 20, 2007
Hairspray is a wondrously entertaining ball of spunky musical numbers, talent set free and fun, fun, fun, with just enough of a message to make it sizzle all the more. Don't miss it.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
July 20, 2007
It is the most deliriously enjoyable movie in a summer that hasn't been exactly packed with old-fashioned moviegoing pleasure.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
July 20, 2007
Hairspray is just plain fun.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
July 20, 2007
Against all expectations, Hairspray turns out to be an explosion of industrial-strength good cheer, delivered by very smart show-biz pros with wit, passion, and a soupçon of dementia. Resistance is futile.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
July 20, 2007
John Travolta is no Divine. And this shiny musical just doesn't have the crazy, messy charm of John Waters' original.
Top Critic
Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
July 19, 2007
What it offers isn't really a nostalgic look at a 'more innocent time' so much as a saucy wink at a casually vicious time that is constantly being sold to us as innocent.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
July 19, 2007
Hairspray is a feel-good musical that, for a change, actually makes you feel good.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Albert Williams
Chicago Reader
July 19, 2007
With its wisecracking screenplay, period-perfect pop score, and Shankman's splashy choreography, this may be the funniest, dancingest screen musical since Singin' in the Rain.
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
July 19, 2007
Hairspray more than fulfills that most basic (but not easy) task of the movie musical: It leaves audiences frugging their way down the aisle.
Top Critic
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
July 19, 2007
The movie pulsates with so much energy and excitement that it sometimes seems it will come bouncing off the screen. But then someone applies another layer of lacquer to their 'do, and the whole boisterous bouffant of a show somehow sticks together.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
July 19, 2007
This movie musical about the plus-sized white girl who shakes her way onto a segregated teen dance show and brings black high-schoolers with her is a laughing gas.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
July 19, 2007
Hairspray is a playful, kitschy, sweet but snarky tribute to the era of sky-high bouffants, TV dance parties and desegregation.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
July 19, 2007
As mile-high-wig musicals go, the film version of Hairspray is less polished but more fun than Dreamgirls. Both are drag revues at heart, one funny, the other serious. I prefer the funny one.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Randy Cordova
Arizona Republic
July 19, 2007
Only a die-hard grump could resist the giddy charms of Hairspray.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
July 19, 2007
That Hairspray is good-hearted is no surprise. The surprise may be that this Hairspray, stuffed with shiny showstoppers, is actually good.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Peter Marks
Washington Post
July 19, 2007
The real star of this Hairspray is director-choreographer Adam Shankman.
Top Critic
Jan Stuart
Newsday
July 19, 2007
...Hairspray is a surprisingly effervescent ice cream soda of a musical, fizzing with sly comic performances and a bonanza of heel-thumping numbers.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
July 19, 2007
By the big finale, even homophobes will tap their feet. OK, maybe not. But the less close-minded are sure to respond. Hairspray has a beat. And you sure can dance to it.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
July 18, 2007
When Hairspray slows or stumbles, which it often does, the direction and choreography (both by Adam Shankman) pull it back together fast, and it keeps on trucking.
Top Critic
Lisa Rose
Newark Star-Ledger
July 18, 2007
More a reinvention than a retread, Hairspray is a pleasant surprise, a breath of fresh, whimsical air in a season that's been dominated by franchise entertainment.
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
July 18, 2007
Hairspray is a fizzy and delirious high-camp message-movie musical that may just turn out to be the happiest movie of the summer.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
July 17, 2007
An odd hybrid that lacks both the rambunctious energy of a live performance and the expressionistic pull of a great movie musical.
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
July 17, 2007
A rousing alternative in a marketplace packed with noisy, special-effects-heavy sequels, Hairspray is the best and most entertaining movie adaptation of a stage musical so far this century.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
July 17, 2007
No winking, no mugging -- just earnest, wholesome, knock-your-socks-off fun.
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
July 17, 2007
It's a toe-tapper to make your forget sashaying pirates, comic-book heroes, robot Camaros and cartoons. This is the movie event of the summer.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Ben Walters
Time Out
July 17, 2007
Though not as scabrous, as sharp or even as musically memorable as John Waters' original, it retains much of his filthy, big-hearted sensibility.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
July 16, 2007
Hairspray exceeded my expectations and, while it isn't my favorite movie of the pool-and-beach season, it's enjoyable enough to earn a recommendation.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
David Ansen
Newsweek
July 16, 2007
This bright, bouncy movie musical is a happy surprise, a candy-colored ode to outsiders that left me with a big grin.
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
July 16, 2007
All of that is just done so well, and you just love the spirit of this.
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
July 16, 2007
Hairspray is perfectly pleasant -- I smiled to myself all the way through it -- but it's not as exhilarating as the show.
Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
July 16, 2007
Adam Shankman's movie of the Broadway Hairspray gets better as it lumbers along, but there's something garish about its hustle -- it's like an elephant trumpeting in your face.
Top Critic
Dennis Harvey
Variety
June 30, 2007
It's one of the best Broadway-tuner adaptations in recent years -- yes, arguably even better than those Oscar-winning ones. Unpretentious, feel-good pic is low on histrionic diva wailing and MTV-style editing, high on retro movie-musical craftsmanship.
Top Critic
Michael Rechtshaffen
Hollywood Reporter
June 30, 2007
John Travolta takes on John Waters in Hairspray, and the result is anything but a drag in this appealingly goofy, all-singing, all-dancing screen adaptation of the Broadway musical based on the 1988 film.