Rated 5.0

In 1962 Baltimore, a teenager (newcomer Nikki Blonsky) turns her dream of dancing on a local rock ’n’ roll TV show into a crusade for integration. Based on the hit Broadway show (and John Waters’ 1988 film), this is just about the most joyous Hollywood musical since Singin’ in the Rain. Director Adam Shankman has done spotty work in the past, but he cut his teeth as a choreographer, and here it’s as if he’s been let out of a cage; every song is a celebration of youthful exuberance. The powerhouse cast includes John Travolta (in hilarious drag) as Blonsky’s mother, Christopher Walken as her adoring father, Michelle Pfeiffer as the ice-queen villain, Queen Latifah as a maternal record-store owner, Zac Efron as Blonsky’s heartthrob, Amanda Bynes as her best friend and James Marsden as the toothy TV host.