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The movie follows Tracy Turnblad, a 'pleasantly plump' teenager who teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration after landing a spot on a local TV dance show and wins the coveted 'Miss Auto Show' crown.
The shock Waters's cinema offers, then, is not transcendent, but almost reflexive, implicating the viewer in the awkward complexities of his own humanity and forcing him to either celebrate it or run screaming away.
John Waters' appreciation for the tacky side of life is in full flower in Hairspray, a slight but often highly amusing diversion about integration, big girls' fashions and music-mad teens in 1962 Baltimore.