Hairspray - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hairspray Reviews

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John Ferguson
Radio Times
July 10, 2016
Waters tones down his usual excesses, but his mischievous black sense of humour is still very much to the fore in this affectionate salute to Z-grade teen movies.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Kate Muir
Times (UK)
September 3, 2015
Perhaps Waters' best known movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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.
Jennie Kermode
Eye for Film
December 7, 2007
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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
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.
| 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...
Top Critic
Variety Staff
June 30, 2007
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.
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
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
May 19, 2005
| Original Score: 3/5
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
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