New York Times - 02/26/1988
"...Waters at his most goofily benign....A wildly colorful celebration..."
Variety - 01/27/1988
"...[Waters'] appreciation for the tacky side of life is in full flower in HAIRSPRAY..."
Los Angeles Times - 02/25/1988
"...A deliriously fast and funny satire of the '60s....HAIRSPRAY is a triumph of camp sensibility at its most perceptive and least precious..."
Uncut - 07/01/2004
"[F]eaturing extraordinary cameos from Pia Zadora, Debbie Harry and Sonny Bono, this is an utter delight."
Baltimore, 1962. Ample, energetic teen Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake) wants nothing more than to get on hip local TV dance program THE CORNY COLLINS SHOW. When she finally gets her way, her lively dance moves and bubbly personality are met with unexpected popularity, along with the ire of a fellow dancer, scheming Amber Von Tussle (Colleen Fitzpatrick). Furthermore, when she witnesses firsthand the terrible state of race relations in Baltimore, Tracy becomes an outspoken advocate for the desegregation of THE CORNY COLLINS SHOW.
John Waters's first PG-rated film is also his most sweet-natured and accessible. Based on his appreciation of the real-life 1960s Baltimore dance program THE BUDDY DEANE SHOW, Waters's affection for the era and attention to authenticity shines through. Lake, in her first film performance, radiates charm and enthusiasm. Divine, in his last (dual) role, appears as both Tracy's mother, Edna, and dastardly TV station manager Arvin Hodgepile. As if that weren't enough, an inspired cast of cameos (Pia Zadora, Ric Ocasek, Waters himself) and a virtual instruction manual of faddish period dances and their accompanying songs serve only to make the deal even sweeter.
In John Waters's HAIRSPRAY, teenager Tracy Turnblad has the biggest bouffant on the block. She also has all the right moves to be on the local dance show and win the crown of Miss Auto Show, as well as the ex-steady of the snooty reigning princess, Amber. But Amber isn't too happy about that and has other plans for Tracy.