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"Beauty Shop"

Directed by Bille Woodruff ("Honey").
Written by Kate Lanier and Norman Vance Jr.
Starring Queen Latifah, Alicia Silverstone, and Kevin Bacon.
Release Year:  2005
Review Date:  4/10/05

Folks--

Before I begin, it should be noted--man, I actually wanted to see "Beauty Shop."

After I left the theater, all I could think was "Wow...can they make movies any worse?"

From start to finish, the Queen Latifah spinoff "Beauty Shop"--based on a character she played in "Barbershop 2"--was just a piece of fucking shit!  It wasn't funny (to me or to the fairly-packed theater I was sitting in), it wasn't scripted well, it wasn't well-acted and it wasn't...jeez, it wasn't really even a black comedy, with about half the film featuring very-white big-name stars that take away from the black feel of the original films.

Where do I even start?  I don't have to go over the plot, since you know from the billion-or-so TV ads that it's about Queen's character Gina running her own beauty salon.  I do have to go over this: it's SUPPOSED to be a comedy, but why did no one laugh for about the first 20 minutes?  Hmm, maybe it's because there is nothing funny about watching Kevin Bacon play a Frenchie named Jorge, or about Gina's family, or about the little kid that hangs out near the beauty salon that likes to shoot video of hottie asses.  This movie almost goes out of its way to not be funny...was there no time to even give us one scene with some of the characters from the "Barbershop" movies to make us laugh?  Was Cedric the Entertainer NOWHERE to be found to give us one quip on Jesse Jackson?  I'll admit--I thought the Catfish Lady was funny.  And, I did laugh when the only male beautician in the shop, James (Bryce Wilson), broke out into song or started talking about another man's shoes like he was the prototype for metrosexuals everywhere.

Otherwise, the laughs were horrible.  So was the acting; Bacon has simply never been this bad in anything he has ever done.  EVER.  Andie MacDowell?  Horrible?  Even the Queen was bad at times, looking as if she had never acted before in scenes where she is supposed to be slightly depressed, or romantically confused, or questioning her daughter's motives.  I really feel like Queen is going to be great in a dramatic role sooner or later; while I think she should never have been nominated for an Oscar for "Chicago", she's normally a reliable performer...but in "Beauty Shop", it looks like she is really just going through the paces.

Speaking of the actors, is that Keshia Knight Pulliam, aka Rudy from "The Cosby Show"?????  I don't think I have been this uncomfortable watching an actress since watching Chloe Sevigny in "The Brown Bunny"; I'm sorry, I don't care how old she is now, watching lil' Rudy do anything remotely sexy freaks me out.  Just does.  And, call me a bastard if you want to, but I just didn't buy that Djimon Hounsou would ever fall for the Queen.  Djimon could have had any of the women in the shop, and she went for the Queen?  She doesn't even like his piano playing!!

And, even though the "Barbershop" films are based around black good guys, black bad guys and black bystanders (save for the token barber in the shop), "Beauty Shop" gets away from that by playing whites against blacks at many turns throughout the film.  There's the MacDowell character, who doesn't seem to get that her husband is cheating on her, getting counsel from black women in the shop, as if none of her white friends would ever tell her the same thing.  There's the Silverstone character, the token whitey on Gina's staff, that snatches away the only available black man in the shop.  And there's Mena Suvari as one of Gina's old clients, who has to be berated for her fake breasts and her lily-whiteness when she talks down to another black woman in the shop.  I would have been happier if they had left all of these white angles out of the movie altogether, but then you have even less to work with, which may be the biggest shocker of them all.

Ugh.  This was bad, and alongside "Diary of a Mad Black Woman", black comedies are starting to make me not want to run out and support. 

Rating:  Hard Vice

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09