Turns out when John Waters isn’t making people eat dog pickles on camera, he’s got some pretty decent pop sensibilities. But just because Hairspray fizzes over like a freshly shaken bottle of effervescent sunshine doesn’t mean Waters took a break from tweaking the squares. The surface-level joys—the dancing, the music, the sense of style that makes Effie’s Hunger Games couture look like a burlap sack and a barrel—constitute the deliciously campy candied shell coating messages about institutionalized racism in 1960s Baltimore and the multiple ways society unfairly judges its children, especially its girls.
by Bobby Roberts
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