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Hairspray [2007] [PG] - 4.3.3



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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» IMDb Listing

Stage-to-screen musical taking place in 1960s Baltimore, and based on the eponymous 1988 John Waters film: Tracy (Nicole Blonsky) is a teenage girl who dreams of dancing on a local dance show and proving that people who berate her for her weight are wrong. When there is an opening in the show's cast and there are open auditions she sees her chance, but the station manager is prejudiced against both plus-sized people and African-Americans. With the help of her supportive parents Tracy doesn't give up and fights mainstream bigotry. (John Travolta plays Tracy's mother). Also with Christopher Walken, Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah, Amanda Bynes and Zac Efron. Directed by Adam Shankman. [1:55]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - A teenage boy climbs through the bedroom window of a teenage girl, he cuts ropes that are restraining her, they kiss, and they lie back on the bed briefly and kiss again.
 A teenage boy and a teenage girl kiss in a few scenes, a teenage boy and a teenage girl kiss on TV, a teenage boy and a teenage girl hug, and a husband kisses his wife on the cheek.
 Teenage boys and girls dance with suggestive hip movements and one thrusts her hips and smacks herself on the buttock and says, "I'm a bad girl and must be punished." A young man sings to a young woman during a hairspray commercial, "Hey baby, you look like you could use a stiff one." A teenage girl licks and sucks on a lollipop in suggestive manner while a teenage boy watches her with interest.
 A teenage boy kisses his fingers and presses them against a teenage girls lips and she collapses. Young men and young women dance with suggestive moves in several scenes. Teenage boys and girls dance in several scenes for a dance show, with varying degrees of suggestive gestures.
 A woman tries to seduce a man, she pushes him into a chair and wraps her leg around his waist and his wife walks in the room.
 A husband and a wife sing and dance about their love for each other. A husband squeezes the clothed buttock of his wife as she wiggles her hips (it is implied that they have sex later).
 Three women wearing low-cut dresses that reveal cleavage and bare thigh dance and sing on a stage. We see a woman wearing a bra and a girdle in a store's changing room. A woman wears a low-cut dress that reveals cleavage. A teenage girl dresses for school (we see her bare calves as she slips on slippers) and we see her button her blouse and zip up her skirt.
 A woman pulls out a wad of paper that is stuffed in a young woman's bra. A young man pulls out a sock from the crotch of his pants before a woman is able to do so for him. A woman stuffs ballots into the strap of her dress and bra.
 A man is referred to as a "flasher" and we see him open his coat as he walks along a street (nothing is visible to us).
 A teenage boy and a teenage girl sing about their love for one another. A woman sings about having had sex with judges to win a competition and in a later scene refers to risking communicable diseases. A teenage girl says that she will be gone for 9 months, implying that she is pregnant. A song refers to all things being equal when it comes to love. A woman tells a teenage girl that her dance moves are much too dirty and in a later scene refers to dance moves being savage. A teenage girl passes rumors about another girl being promiscuous with the football team.

VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - A woman ties her daughter to her bed, puts a record of the Lord's Prayer on and tells the girl that she will be staying there forever.
 A woman yells at her daughter and grabs her by the arm. A girl punches another girl on the arm.
 A teenage girl taps a police officer on the shoulder with a protest placard and it is reported as a case of severe assault.
 A teenage girl falls from a raised stage prop and onto a stage (she limps a bit but seems OK).
 People are cruel and insulting about a teenage girl's weight, a woman's weight, the size of a teenage girl's nose, etc. in many scenes. A laundress remarks to a woman that her "personal stains" are difficult to remove.
 A man plays with a toy donkey and lifts its tail to reveal a cigarette. Several whoopee cushions make a noise when a man tries to move in his bed -- which is made out of many whoopee cushions -- and the man then flatulates.

PROFANITY 3 - 1 anatomical term, 4 mild obscenities, 12 derogatory terms for African-Americans, 5 derogatory terms for weight challenged people, 1 derogatory term for Caucasians, name-calling (bum, wacky, ugly, stupid, crazy, Communist, hefty, harlot, flasher), 6 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - Two pregnant women smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol in a bar scene, people are shown drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes in a bar scene, and a man is show drinking in a bar and he is referred to as a "bum." Several teachers smoke cigarettes in a teachers' lounge at a school, several teenage girls smoke in a girls bathroom at a school, and a man smokes a cigarette.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Dreams, racism, following your dreams, love, infidelity, cruelty, integration, weight issues, pride, being different, freedom, doing the right thing, cheating, fairness, civil rights protests, spinning the news.

MESSAGE - Follow your dream. Being different is OK; it leaves you free to change things.

(Note: A rope separates African-American teenagers from Caucasian teenagers while they dance on a TV show.)

Special Keywords: S4 - V3 - P3 - MPAAPG

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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