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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2007), PG [Very Lite PG-13*] (1hr 09min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
November 23, 2007
March 2, 2008

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2007), PG [Very Lite PG-13*] ... leaves a few scratches of immorality as it claws its way through its 109 minutes ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Gabriel Simon Production Services, Storyline Entertainment, Ingenious Film Partners, New Line Cinema, Zadan/Meron
Distribution (US): New Line Cinema
Director(s): Adam Shankman
Producer(s): Michael Disco, Anson Downes, Toby Emmerich, Linda Favila, Jennifer Gibgot, Garrett Grant, Mark Kaufman, Travis Knox, Neil Meron, Marc Shaiman, Adam Shankman, Robert Shaye, Daniel Silverberg, John Waters, Scott Wittman, Craig Zadan
Screenplay: Leslie Dixon, John Waters (1988)
Musical Play: Mark O'Donnell, Thomas Meehan
Cinematography/Camera: Bojan Bazelli
Music: Marc Shaiman
Film Editing: Michael Tronick
Casting: Tina Gerussi
Production Design: David Gropman
Art Direction: Dennis Davenport
Viewed on New Line Cinema Home Entertainment DVD

This is the forth of four analyses known to be left over from 2007. The CAP Ministry is broke. This analysis will be the last one until donations and/or funding are received to cover the expenses of doing new release and/or now playing films.

Films rated PG-13 in the comparative baseline database earned final scores from 55 to 67 out of 100. Hairspray (PG) earned 66. That score makes it is equivalent to a very lite 13-PG. If it were not for the smatterings of "lite" sexually oriented and impudent and/or hateful behaviors, Hairspray might have earned a G-equivalent score, or at worst a middle-of-the-road PG.

Hairspray(2007) is set in 1962 Baltimore and is styled after its 1988 same-name predecessor. It is a bright and lively song-n-dance celebration of integration and of reaching for a goal. There is not much of a plot. What plot there is to it is not executed all that well. But maybe this story does not need a plot. It is a snappy romp in teen musicals. Unfortunately it leaves a few scratches of immorality as it claws its way through its 109 minutes. But Hairspray is unassuming and does not try to be more than it is. It never hints of vying for the Oscars but it is easily a magnet for the middleschool "chick flick" crowd pocketbook.

Teenage Tracy Turnblad (Nicky Blonsky) is hungry to be a guest dancer on the Corny Collins (James Marsden) TV Dance Show which mimics the real American Bandstand with Dick Clark from the same period. Tracy and her best friend, Penny Pingleton (Amanda Bynes) rush home everyday after school to catch the show though Tracy's mountainous momma, Edna (John Travolta) disapproves. Edna sees her precious rotund daughter being lured into the performing world. While Tracy's dad, Wilbur (Christopher Walken), for the most part, is neutral but eventually supportive, mom is animated against Tracy becoming a TV star.

Tracy's "mom" Edna is John Travolta. Deuteronomy 22:5 shares with us God's admonition against men wearing women's garments (transvestism). But the filmmakers didn't even try the slightest hint of "gay." Travolta did not appear to be expressing "drag" nor is Travolta apparently "gay." A lot of controversy spawned as the result of Scientoligist Travolta appearing as a woman in Hairsray. "Gay" rights activists tried to boycott Hairspray. Shakespeare and others wrote plays performed by men wearing women's garments. Men dressed as women even in Escape from New York (1981) with Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken but no hint of homosexuality was noted. And Robin Williams dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire in the movie of the same name (which had "gay" characters in it). How about Buzz Lightyear when he was forced to wear a woman's hat at Hannah's tea party? I am at a loss on this one and could use some feedback. Was it a sin for Travolta to be dressed as a woman? The Shakespearean actors? Robin Williams? Buzz Lightyear? Granted, "acting" does not excuse the demonstration of sin but does Travolta's and others' garb violate God's Word in Deut. 22:5? Please share with me your thoughts on this. What is the intent of God's Word admonishing men from wearing women's clothing? I believe Deut. 22:5 addresses the practitioners of homosexuality who flaunt trying to appear as the opposite gender like the she-males on Cops(tm).

When the Corny Collins show announces tryouts for guest dancers, Tracy is in the front of the line. But as soon as producer, Velma Von Tussle (Michelle Pfeiffer) sees Tracy she dismisses Tracy as being too fat for the show. However, Corny likes her and puts her in the lineup. Tracy is an instant sensation.

Feeling usurped, Velma tries a number of dastardly things to get even, even canceling "Negro Tuesdays." In a counter move, Tracy joins and energizes a prointegration march. A tussle ensues and Tracy is arrested for assaulting a cop -- a trumped up maneuver to cover backsides.

A note about segregation and integration. God separated the people into races for a reason (Babel) but NOT to make one race "better" than another. [Gen. 11-1 - 19] He confounded the language of the one-language people because of their sin of trying to reach Heaven with a tower. Once the people spoke different languages they migrated into like-speaking "races" just as He intended We are all equal at the foot of the Cross and Jesus will not be black, white, Indian, Baptist or Jew while setting on the Judgment Throne. He will be just Jesus. This is a film which includes portrayals the social unrest, however sanitized it is, of early efforts to end segregation and racism -- an issue likely above the experiential maturity of the typical PG age stratum but worthy of introducing to them betimes. If it were not for the claw marks of the assaults on morality and wholesome ethics, this film would be a good tool to help you do that.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Though the film is mostly about civil unrest and racism, there is very little violence and no crime. The only violence was when a mother bound her daughter. [Matt. 18:10]

Impudence/Hate (I)
There are only two uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary in Hairspray (2007) but each use is by a teen. But additional matters of impudence and/or hate dragged this investigation area score down to equivalence with some R-rated features: racial discrimination and insults throughout; classroom disrespect; sneaking to defy mother; a mother bounding her daughter; social warfare and cruelty; lies; more.

A note about lying. God is adamant about lying. So much so that He warns that the (unforgiven) liar will not make it into Heaven. [Rev. 21:8] And He does not specify whether the little white lie is more or less offensive than the boldfaced lie. Just ask yourself, "When is a lie not a lie?" and you will have your answer. Y'see, a lie is a lie period. Even if a lie would save someone's life. In that case, the one who forces the lie is the sinner. We cannot get around lying being sinful. Imagine this scenario. Mom asks you where you've been the past three hours? You tell her to the corner store just down the street. That you were at the corner store may be true but what you told your mother is a lie if you were also at Julie's, John's, the mall, the bowling alley ... It would be a lie of omission since it is also true you were at Julie's, John's, the mall, the bowling alley ...

Sexual Immorality (S)
There is no nudity or boy and girl in bed together in this film, but when you consider the magnitude of all the "lesser" examples of sexually immoral matters, there might as well have been. This is a point discussed by our CAP Rule of 1000, a relatively new technique of filmmakers to load a film with "lesser" examples of ignominy to get the, er, big picture "feel" of something more bold or intense. There are a lot of instances of cinematographic maneuvers to force the viewer's attention on private parts. Though all the private parts are clothed in this film, to cause the viewer to focus on the private parts is still sexual.

Additional examples of sexually oriented behaviors/imagery include pelvic thrusts, suggestion of pregnancy by immoral sex, using sex appeal to influence in adultery, inappropriate touch, a number of innuendo and more. [Prov. 30:20, Gal. 5:19]

Drugs/Alcohol (D)
Teens were observed as smoking in the restroom. Additional smoking was noted by the investigation area as was booze and a bar.

"A study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking and smoking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage kids. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted from viewing R-rated movies.

The researchers selected R-rated movies because they assumed R-rated movies typically present more drinking than movies of other classifications. This assumption is no longer true. The researchers were not aware of the matter of "R-13" proven by this ministry (see "R-13" ) and four years after us by Harvard University scientists (see Harvard Agrees With Us. The bottom line? The focus is the influence of adolescent exposure to drinking (and smoking) in and as entertainment is undeniable regardless of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) classification.

Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete restrictions.

    Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? And emboldening children to sin with drink in and as entertainment screams of violating Luke 17:2. Even the University of Connecticut corroborates our finding and that of the ACP. [Eph. 5:18]

    Our studies provide an additional parameter for the ACP study. While booze, drinking and smoking in and as entertainment indeed embolden defiance of rule and law and take their toll on wholesome decision-making skills of youth, our studies indicate the problem is not as much the presentation of booze and drinking in and as entertainment as it is the attitude portrayed by and with the drinking and smoking. See ATTITUDE: In Perspective -- Investigation Area Scoring and Trend in CAP Entertainment Industry Investigations, Special Report-001 for more information on the strongest presence being not the sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, etc. but the attitude that presents the most proselytizing element of modern entertainment: the attitude of freedom from authority, freedom from accountability and freedom form consequences. And note that attitude (impudence, arrogance, a proud look, "haughty eyes") is the first in the list of seven behaviors He hates. [Prov. 6:16 - 19]

    Offense to God (O)
    Aside from the flashing to mock "Christian", teens used God's name in vain six times though each was without the four letter expletive. [Deut. 5:11] Then the vulgar mockery of the Scriptures lost a few of the starting 100 points in this investigation area. If we mock "Christian" we mock God. And He don't like that. [Gal. 6:7]

    Murder/Suicide (M)
    There were no murders or suicides noted.


    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Deut. 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. Gen. 11:1 - 19 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth." But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel [Babel or Babylon: confusion (by mixing)] -because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
  • Matt. 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones [which includes at-home teens]; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. ["Despise" is kataphroneo {kat-af-ron-eh'-o}: to condemn, despise, disdain, think little or nothing of, to look down upon (which includes abuse, even by influence or bad example, lying to them, enticing/teasing them, seducing them and/or their thoughts, etc.). What do you want the angels for your kids to say to God? By the way, "little ones" is mikros meaning less by birth, younger. All of your children are "less by birth" than you. All of them are younger. So, "little ones" includes at-home teens, the most morally vulnerable age stratum.]
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
  • Prov. 30:20 This is the way of an adulteress [or adulterer]: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, 'I've done nothing wrong.' [Though this verse uses "adulteress" to make its point, the heart of the matter is the arrogance of "What's the big deal!" defense of sexual immorality (or any other wrong-doings). This verse makes an adulter(er/ess) of many filmmakers and performers, thinking they can ignore wholesome ethics and standards and impart impurity while thinking they've done no wrong.]
  • Gal. 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;...
  • Prov. 6:16 - 19 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: (1) haughty eyes, (2) a lying tongue, (3) hands that shed innocent blood, (4) a heart that devises wicked schemes, (5) feet that are quick to rush into evil, (6) a false witness who pours out lies and (7) a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title.]
  • Gal. 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked [which includes His Word]: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Hairspray (2007) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • bounding of a daughter by a mother

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • racial discrimination and insults throughout
  • traffic arrogance
  • classroom disrespect
  • song lyrics to encourage defiance of parents, twice
  • sneaking to defy mother
  • parents polarized with the daughter the victim
  • social cruelty and warfare, repeatedly
  • lies, repeatedly, some in fraud and to implicate others falsely
  • portrayal of black female performers more "show off" and "see me" than others
  • two uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary by a teen
  • violating detention
  • flatulence
  • parent calling daughter names
  • cheating
  • vindictive attitude throughout most of the film

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • camera angle to force viewer on private parts
  • behavior to draw attention to private parts, male and female, repeatedly
  • suggestion of pregnancy by immoral sex
  • self grabbing of private parts
  • offer of sex in song
  • spinning in dance to intentionally show more leg
  • innuendo re: menstrual activity
  • pelvic thrusts, repeatedly
  • generic innuendo, repeatedly
  • crude humor
  • using sex appeal to influence in adultery
  • inappropriate touch
  • fondling own breasts

    Drugs/Alcohol (D)
  • teens smoking in restroom
  • booze
  • smoking, twice
  • bar

    Offense to God (O)
  • flashing (nothing seen) from a Christian store
  • six uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive
  • vulgar mocking of the Scriptures

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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