July 20th, 2007

Val Spring 2010

The "Hairspray" Movie

OK, I watched the cast of the "Hairspray" movie on the "Today" show this morning, with the first number being a medley of some of the movie's songs, including "Good Morning, Baltimore" and "Nicest Kids in Town." Later numbers included "You Can't Stop the Beat" and "Run and Tell That." I wasn't sure the film cast would be able to compare to the Broadway cast--and especially right there in New York!--but they did pretty well. Well, the dancers did, which is what I was focusing on. Definitely that first number comes off the best showing how energetic and infectious the show can be. I will scandalize all readers under 21 by stating: Oh, that's Zac Efron! Hmm, not bad. Queen Latifah did fine and newcomer Nikki Blonsky sounds cutesy enough, but the REAL surprise was James Marsden as Corny Collins, who I had NO IDEA could sing! And he can sing, he sings quite well and quite naturally (which can't be said for some of the other people who sang today...). Who knew? Talk about the hidden talents of Cyclops ;)!

I got to hear two of the other cast members, John Travolta and Christopher Walken, when their love duet (remember in the film, they're husband and wife!) was played during director Adam Shankman's interview on yesterday's Fresh Air, the NPR radio show. They do a little traditional soft-shoe number together. Walken's singing pretty straight, if understandably raspy, and Travolta's singing well, even though he has to sing rather high as he's supposed to be a woman. But he's giggling through a lot of it, which I guess is part of the character, but in listening to just the song, it was a little distracting! In any case, Shankman's had a really interesting life so far, from dancing and doing backflip after backflip in Janet Jackson's "Escapade" music video and also Paula Abdul's "Under the Sea" number for the Oscars to having both directed and choreographed "Hairspray"--a movie whose very existence I still do not accept on some level but whatever. Maybe it will make more people check out the original--Joe Bob Briggs and John Waters were absolutely hilarious when they hosted it on TNT years back, plus very informative. You'd think they'd at least show that again! I mean, Fresh Air dug up their interview with Waters back when the original movie was released in 1988.

The movie looks okay, but at least I finally figured out the deal with Travolta's makeup. Yes, he's very obviously heavily made up, but here's the deal--he looks like a Cabbage Patch Kid all grown up!!