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Parents' Guide to


By Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

A kitschy teen fantasy you can dance to.

Movie PG 1988 92 minutes
Hairspray Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

age 8+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (14 ):

This movie encourages viewers to dream of dating the cutest boy, being the most popular girl, and having the biggest hair, but it also creates a world more realistic than its counterparts. The hero is a fat girl, and the dancing is segregated. That Tracy deals with all of this with childlike enthusiasm and class speaks well of a movie about a white trash girl who dreams big.

Ricki Lake is easily the best thing about Hairspray. Drag queen Divine is extra fun as Tracy's mother, but it's Lake who grabs and keeps your attention. She imbues Tracy dignity and confidence that you rarely see in celluloid fat girls. Because this is a John Waters movie, there's some gross-out humor, and much name-calling and cursing. The director isn't one for subtlety -- he makes his points with a sledge hammer. Lucky for viewers, Waters also has a campy and silly side, and at least this once, he's overcome with infectious optimism.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: February 26, 1988
  • On DVD or streaming: September 26, 1995
  • Cast: Divine , Ricki Lake , Sonny Bono
  • Director: John Waters
  • Studio: New Line
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 92 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG
  • MPAA explanation: language, thematic elements and sexuality.
  • Last updated: August 21, 2023

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