Thursday, April 14, 2016

Movie Review: "Beauty Shop" (2005)

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Movie"Beauty Shop"
Director: Billie Woodruff
Year: 2005
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

After her daughter gets accepted into a performing arts school in Atlanta, Georgia, Gina Norris (Queen Latifah) leaves Chicago to move down south and starts work at a high-end hair salon. One day, she gets fed up with her boss, Jorge (Kevin Bacon) and all of his rules, so she decides to venture out on her own and open her own beauty shop. She manages to get a loan and buy a storefront in "the hood," but when Jorge starts losing his customers to Gina, he takes every step possible to put her out of business.

Billie Woodruff's "Beauty Shop" is technically the third film in the "Barbershop" series. This is a somewhat indirect sequel, bringing Queen Latifah's character Gina Norris from a minor supporting role to full-on leading lady. The location has also changed from Chicago to Atlanta, and the shop in question is no longer a neighborhood monument, but rather a brand new upstart. The only other thing connecting this movie to its predecessors, besides Gina and her daughter, is a photo of the original barbershop crew, which is taped to the mirror at Gina's hair cutting booth. The camera clearly lingers on this photograph in an effort to make the audience remember where she came from in the grand scheme of the series.

When the movie begins, Gina is working at a high-end salon for a man named Jorge, played randomly by Kevin Bacon, who has a clearly fake, horribly, painfully, intentionally bad European accent. Gina is one of the best stylists at his salon, though Jorge sees her and everyone else who works for him as expendable. After several disagreements and a really bad argument, Gina quits and heads out on her own, and even though she doesn't have a whole lot of money to get her shop off the ground, she hires a bunch of people and works with what she's got. Once her shop opens, thus begins the derivative, basic, much more stripped down version of the other two "Barbershop" films. There are a couple laughs here and there, but they are few and far between. When they do come, they are usually barely even chuckles, that or they are laughs at things that shouldn't be funny. Most of the quips involve very outdated referenced topical to the time (mentioning rap groups like the Yin Yang Twins and other cultural entertainment markers), but are not the least bit relevant now. The rest are just gags about cultural differences between wealthy white suburbanites and poor black people from the inner city, which is awkward and sort of painful to watch for an hour and 45 minutes.

When it comes right down to it, this story follows the life and times of the female equivalent of the male barbers and with a male equivalent of the token female character from its predecessors. There is also one out-of-place white person who works at the shop and isn't initially given a chance because of their race. Here, this role is played by Alicia Silverstone as one of the worst, miscast actors we have ever seen. Maybe it's just the nature of her character, or maybe it's that by 2005, her "Clueless" 90's high had long since passed her into irrelevant territory, so it makes it all the more terrible when her unintentionally bad southern accent makes her sound more stupid than southern.

It is clear from watching "Beauty Shop" that the franchise was losing steam, and quickly. The only glue holding this moderate trainwreck together is Queen Latifah, and if it weren't for her, "Beauty Shop" would be frizzed out of existence. The next installment comes out in mid-April 2016, and we can't say we blame everyone involved from taking a much needed 11 year layoff.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 37%
Do we recommend this movie: No.
One year ago, we were watching: "Five Minutes of Heaven"

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