When Hairspary the Musical erupted on the national stage winning every award in site, it resurected my interest in the John Waters film of the same name.
The film has all of the attributes of a John Waters film, including Devine, the cheap as sin acting and sets, the over-the-top directing and the absurd cinematic moments. It’s unclear from following the movie what I am supposed to get out of it.
It’s clearly not a documentary on 1960’s history. It’s clearly not a comment on modern race relations.
The film is more like a trip down John Waters’ memory about the events of that time.
It attempts to explore the issues of race in the 1960’s using Waters’ wacky style.
Is it worth watching?
Hard to say. The low budget shines through all of the time. But there is a certain Jetson’s like feel to watching the 60’s through Waters’ eyes. Much like the Jetson’s project the 1950’s into the 21st century, Hairspray projects our imaginings of the period onto the period.
Devine is wonderful.
Ricki Lake is funny as Tracy Turnblad.
Jerry Stiller is great.
It’s one of the more watchable of Waters’ films. Not a mainstream selection.