Sometimes you see something that sets off so many different feelings in you that you don't even know where to begin. Such was the experience of watching Oprah's gushfest with the cast of Hairspray last week. She gushed so much I feared she would be rushed to County General for dehydration treatment.
She didn't just love the movie. She loooooooovvvvveed it. She loved it with several exclamation points. Either that or she owns stock in it. See for yourself...
I rarely watch Oprah but now I understand why Tom Cruise was jumping on couches. I thought she might be impersonating Arsenio Hall what with all the artificial whooping. John Travolta, a close personal friend of Oprah... and she wants you to know it, charmed the crowd and himself. He loves the accent he created for Edna Turnblad. He loves it so much that even after spending an inordinate amount of time talking about it, he brought it up again after the commercial break. Unfortunately one of Edna's most famous lines --the one about her diet pills wearing off --is almost unintelligible under the affected Baltimorean. I love what he says about the difficulties of musicals, that's a smart answer. But when he's talking about the accent all I can think of is the scene in Waiting for Guffman where Corky St. Clair tries an accent on for size.
Based on the scenes shown we know Hairspray is colorful and bouncy. It looks like a lot of fun if suspiciously frantic in proving itself so (breathe a tentative sigh of relief). Musical comedy works best when you can't feel the heavy lifting. Hopefully the fatsuits, accents, wigs, and uneven score won't cause the talent to sweat.
Following Travolta was Michelle Pfeiffer. Ahem. After my heart stopped pounding (SO good to see her again. It's been years) I started giggling and feeling for her. She still hates to be interviewed. She hates it with exclamation points. She is one of the great movie stars but when it comes to playing herself? That aint her forte. She can't form sentences. She doesn't want to answer questions. She was not made for forced patter. My mind lept back to her very uncomfortable interview with Barbara Walters back in the day. It was chilly in there. And here on Oprah, sandwiched between the eager to please Travolta and the warm charisma of Queen Latifah, the temperature dropped a bit, too.
Here is the Michelle portion plus a bit o' Queen and Nikki Blonsky.
My favorite part is the last bit. Oprah realizes Michelle has been quiet and no one has been addressing her and she tries for an olive branch. The response is the most relaxed Pfeiffer gets. "Someone has to play the villain."
They're beating the drums early for this potential crowd pleaser, aren't they? It doesn't open until July 20th and it got a full hour on Oprah two months prior. That's a lot of time to fluff some cotton candy. It better be sweet.