Hairspray

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Can a big-haired, plus-sized Baltimore teen with a drag queen mother and a passion for all the latest dance crazes become a local TV celebrity AND make the world safe for racial harmony? If she’s the star of a John Waters movie she can! The Pope of Trash scored the biggest commercial success of his career with Hairspray, a slyly-subversive, PG-rated pop art musical satire set in the kitschy world of the TV dance show craze of the early 1960s, a time when new dances like “The Roach,” “The Madison,” and “The Mashed Potato” were not just frivolous fun, but a way of life for gyrating teens and their mile-high bouffants held together with, what else, gallons and gallons of ozone-depleting hairspray! Big-boned Baltimore teen Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake) lives a humdrum life with her harried mother (hilariously played by Divine in his last screen performance – “I’ve got ironing to do and my diet pill is wearing off!”) and novelty store owner father (Jerry Stiller). Tracy’s daydreams of stardom improbably come true when she scores a spot on “The Corny Collins Show,” a popular local TV dance show, and she quickly becomes the main attraction, much to the dismay of her mean girl dance rival, the catty Amber von Tussle. Battling her way through bullies, beehives and Baltimore weirdness (with the help of her pals Penny, Seaweed and Link Larkin, not to mention a fabulous frock or two from The Hefty Hideaway), Tracy uses her newfound celebrity to become a role model for big girls AND a dancing crusader for civil rights! Filled with great ‘60s dance tunes and a jaw-dropping lineup of kooky cameos from Debbie Harry, Sonny Bono, Pia Zadora and more, Hairspray is gloriously goofy retro fun. (Dir. by John Waters, 1988, USA, 92 mins., Rated PG) 35mm