'Hairspray' Sets Critics on Fire

High-camp movie version charms even the skeptical
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Jul 20, 2007 3:48 PM CDT
In this photo released by New Line Cinema, actors John Travolta, left, wearing a female fat suit, and Nikki Blonsky appear in a scene from the film musical "Hairspray." (A Photo/New Line Cinema, David...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – With its cheerfully loony evocation of the 60s, "Hairspray" has scored big with reviewers. "The movie's style and exuberance torpedoed my misgivings within seconds," says the LATimes. The movie-turned-musical-turned-movie is also being praised for its star turns, by a fatsuited John Travolta and plump newcomer Nikki Blonsky. 

The WashPost, meanwhile, says the "real star"  is director-choreographer Adam Shankman. Other critics were impressed with the movie's "stick up for the outsider" theme and snark-free tone. And most liked the way Travolta turned the once terrifying transvestite Edna Turnblad into a genial character. By all accounts, Travolta  plays the character, well, straight.