Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Albert Williams
    With its wisecracking screenplay, period-perfect pop score, and Shankman's splashy choreography, this may be the funniest, dancingest screen musical since "Singin' in the Rain."
  2. A great big sloppy kiss of entertainment for audiences weary of explosions, CGI effects and sequels, sequels, sequels.
  3. 100
    The best and most entertaining movie adaptation of a stage musical so far this century - and yes, I’m including the Oscar-winning "Chicago."
  4. A feel-good musical that, for a change, actually makes you feel good.
  5. 100
    In its entirety, Hairspray has the funny tilt that only a director-choreographer like Shankman can give to a movie.
  6. 91
    So good at what it does that it can exhaust you: In the later going, one big number follows on the heels of another so quickly that it feels more like an opera than a regular musical.
  7. A fizzy and delirious high-camp message-movie musical that may just turn out to be the happiest movie of the summer.
  8. Broad and funny, its sensibility is very campy and it's out to be loved by everyone.
  9. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    If you look fast, you'll see Waters himself in a cameo (as a flasher; what else?), proof the new film is in touch with its dyed roots.
  10. A rocking, rollicking crowd-pleaser.
  11. The film's an irresistible time capsule of that Camelot summer, blending girrrrrl power, social consciousness and faux-'60s pop with the fizz of a soda jerk whipping up a root beer float.
  12. 88
    It's hard to resist the film's exuberance.
  13. 88
    Just plain fun. Or maybe not so plain. There's a lot of craft and slyness lurking beneath the circa-1960s goofiness.
  14. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    It's one of the best Broadway-tuner adaptations in recent years -- yes, arguably even better than those Oscar-winning ones.
  15. Reviewed by: Will Lawrence
    Offering plenty of body and a lot of lift, Hairspray gels kitsch styling with show-stopping tunes to mould a memorable musical.
  16. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Shankman and his screenwriter, Leslie Dixon, prove you can make a lightweight Broadway musical into big movie fun.
  17. 80
    The overall mood of Hairspray is so joyful, so full of unforced enthusiasm, that only the most ferocious cynic could resist it.
  18. What it offers isn't really a nostalgic look at a "more innocent time" so much as a saucy wink at a casually vicious time that is constantly being sold to us as innocent.
  19. 78
    If ever there were a happy summer movie, it’s Hairspray. But for all its bubbly musical numbers and effervescent good humor, this film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical feels oddly lacquered -- it’s John Waters by way of Disney.
  20. 75
    Delivers an even bigger sugar rush than the hit Broadway musical.
  21. 75
    Though the film is too slick and heavy-handed in its pro-integration sloganeering, and it's burdened by Travolta's ill-conceived star turn, its infectious high spirits and catchy tunes still pack one hell of a sugar rush.
  22. 75
    For all the flash and flutter, the movie overall lacks, well, HEFT.
  23. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    This Hairspray really is a lot of fun -- colorful, sassy, and brisk.
  24. 75
    The film isn't deep or thematically rich or filled with amazing characters. Instead, it's an excursion into song and dance, and works admirably on that level.
  25. Less polished but more fun than "Dreamgirls." Both are drag revues at heart, one funny, the other serious. I prefer the funny one.
  26. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    John Travolta may stand out as a plus-size laundress who is hesitant, drab and retiring, but Hairspray is a consistently flashy, rousing and rambunctious movie spectacle.
  27. 70
    Travolta, looking believably pretty and sweet under layers of fondant Latex, is a wholly different incarnation of Edna. And he's not bad. But that right there is the problem with Hairspray: It's all so "not bad" that it isn't nearly enough, even when Shankman and his cast work hard to send it soaring over the top.
  28. 70
    Hairspray isn’t all that bad, frankly. The songs are catchy, most of the leads are engaging enough (Blonksy and Bynes especially), and there’s just enough low-key subversiveness to keep everything from getting too saccharine.
  29. John Travolta takes on John Waters in Hairspray, and the result is anything but a drag in this appealingly goofy, all-singing, all-dancing screen adaptation of the Broadway musical based on the 1988 film.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 203 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 73 out of 96
  2. Negative: 16 out of 96
  1. Nov 23, 2011
    One thing for sure, this movie is definitely not my type. But in some way, it was entertaining at some parts which is why it only JUST gets a 4.
  2. Mike
    Feb 5, 2008
    Very colorful, likable for the first 15 mins, and then it just became annoying! Travolts sucks a woman, he didn't look like one, Very colorful, likable for the first 15 mins, and then it just became annoying! Travolts sucks a woman, he didn't look like one, didn't move like one, or speak like one. Also this is a "MUSICAL" so why are actors singing when they don't have the talent too sing! Full Review »
  3. LennyC.
    Jan 23, 2008
    If you have never seen a train wreck, watch this movie, it is an hour and a half boring music video with no let up, i felt like sceeming,, If you have never seen a train wreck, watch this movie, it is an hour and a half boring music video with no let up, i felt like sceeming,, "STOP THE MUSIC" Full Review »