I love musicals. I love that the movie industry has produced some really excellent movie versions of some of my favorite stage productions.
Sure, I had some problems with the producers of “Dreamgirls” missing the message of the show by writing Beyonce her own stupid song. (Hello? The whole message was that her character wasn’t a REAL star.) I forgave this act of theatrical transgression ONLY because they wrote Effie/Jennifer Hudson a terrific song for the movie. (That would be “Love You I Do”, available on iTunes.)
I Netflixed “Hairspray”. The stage show is full of athletic dancing, amazing singing, and the usual musical theater fare. I was very excited- we saw Hairspray in June of 2006, and it was stellar. With the resources that movie producers have, the movie should have been A-MA-ZING.
Not so much.
To start with, the casting was sub-par. Michelle Pfeiffer can’t sing, and shouldn’t be in musicals. Anyone who saw Grease 2 knows this. John Travolta made a mockery of Edna Turnblad; why put him in a fat suit? His stupid “
Some of the casting was excellent: Zac Efron as Link, Christopher Walken as Mr. Turnblad, and Queen Latifah. The best actors were seen the least.
What I found the saddest was the lack of large ensemble dance numbers- and that the lead girl wasn’t in a single one of them. The changes in the plot made the movie heavy and trite without adding anything positive.
Oddly, I still found it to be a fun film.
Zac Efron plays a delightfully narcissistic Link, and carries his singing and dancing roles off flawlessly. In the stage show, there was nothing shameful about having a crush on the Link character. I think that’s because the actor was 35 years old. Imagine how creepy I felt when I realized that movie-Link is a Disney kid and BARELY legal. I probably wouldn’t feel this way if I hadn’t seen High School Musical, but alas, that bridge has been crossed. Twice.
The best part of the movie is the closing number- “You Can’t Stop The Beat”. I have to say, John Travolta does a mean, full-body shimmy. After seeing his shimmy, I feel like less of a woman. Seriously. I cheered for the shimmy. I told my family about the shimmy. This shimmy is what shimmy legends are made of.
If you were considering renting it, do. Do it for the shimmy.