with the “Hollywood Ensemble Acting of the Year Award” — Nikki Blonsky, Elijah Kelly, Brittany Snow, Amanda Bynes and John Travolta.
Belafonte's arm, fearing that white Southerners would be offended.Clark, who owned the rights to her special, refused.The show received record ratings and was a critical success.(Note the Freudian "tonight in color" in the above ad.) A penny now in 2007 for the thoughts of Petula Clark, 74, and Harry Belafonte, 80, should they watch this latest incarnation of "Hairspray", which opened yesterday.Adam Shankman's film, based on the original Broadway musical, is one that is hard not to love.
Constantly vivacious, exuberant and energetic to the max, "Hairspray" is set six years before Petula Clark's special, and in Baltimore. A regal Queen: Latifah on target as Motormouth Maybelle, and exciting newcomer Nicole "Nikki" Blonsky as Tracy Turnblad in Adam Shankman's "Hairspray" a funny, fantastic swarm of sight, sound and color.
Tracy Turnblad (played by Nicole "Nikki" Blonsky, in a remarkable feature film debut) serenades the town radiantly and with all the cheer and happiness one could expect from one on her way to school. (All color photos: David James/New Line Cinema) Baltimore in 1962 is as segregated as ever, and television has not witnessed a black and a white person dancing with each other, and on The Corny Collins Show, the closest thing to integrated dance halls is Negro Pride Day, a separate event for blacks which comes around once a week.
Off the Baltimore (and the nation's) television screens, the school detention rooms are the other place where blacks and whites "mix", but there's a whole lot of shaking of money makers going on. Stubbs (Elijah Kelley) and before long she freely interacts with him while keeping an adoring eye on an Elvis Presley look-alike named Link (another newcomer, Zac Efron) who has been setting "The Corny Collins Show" alight with his sound and dance moves. Shankman knows how to raise temperatures, whether sexual or racial (he did both with "Bringing Down The House") and all of his actors here give "Hairspray" every bit of the passion they have, most notably John Travolta, who does the drag routine superbly as Edna Turnblad. Travolta wears work, but the actor excels in spite of it, with a stupendous performance, so good that it is indescribable -- it has to be witnessed.
In a way it is fitting (no pun intended) that Travolta is part of this film, because this latest "Hairspray" is as good as, if not better than Mr.
Travolta's last musical film "Grease", in its vigor, dynamism and passion -- and as a flat-out work of film art.
In the new film color is starched, scorched and saturated. Hairstyles are coiffed and sprayed to the nines, and everyone dresses and dances to kill.