By Celeste Meiffren
PHOTO COURTESY OF MGM
"Beauty Shop" - The ubiquitous Queen Latifah stars in "Beauty Shop," the latest installment in an ever-expanding empire of movies that end in the word "shop." The film further solidifies Latifa's crossover status, from hip-hop to Hollywood.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 7, 2005
Figuring out the connections to Queen Latifah in the six degrees of Kevin Bacon game was always a challenge.
The trick is that you'd have to go by way of "The Bone Collector" or "Sphere." Fortunately, now it's a one stepper. Kevin Bacon and Queen Latifah have finally, with much anticipation, joined forces in "Beauty Shop."
"Beauty Shop" is a spin-off of the "Barbershop" movies.
Without having seen the "Barbershop" movies, I was still able to follow the plot.
The plot of the movie is really straightforward and simple.
Gina, played by Queen Latifah, quits her job at an oppressive beauty salon owned by Jorge, played by Kevin Bacon. She gets a loan and buys her own beauty salon in "the ghetto" (her words, not mine). She does lots of hair.
Falls in love. Overcomes hurdles. Learns important lesson: Do not let the white man get you down. The end.
"Beauty Shop" relies a lot - perhaps too much - on racially charged dialogue and situational comedy, and not enough on story or character development.
Most of the encounters that lead to the situational comedy are totally implausible. In order to find them funny, the audience must suspend disbelief. For example, Gina is denied a loan at the bank, but she sees that her frumpy female banker has a crush on another handsome man banker. So, after her loan is denied she catches up with the frumpy banker in the bathroom and does her hair and tells her to go after the guy. The banker then gives her the loan.
Two words: suspend disbelief.
Also, most of the side characters are less like real people and more like caricatures of stereotypes. For example, there is the young boy who films girls' booties (his word, not mine) for his hip-hop video. Or the white girl who wants desperately to be black (played by Alicia Silverstone). The list goes on.
The final shortcoming of "Beauty Shop" is Kevin Bacon's involvement in it. Kevin Bacon has not been in a comedy since his first role in "Animal House."
He has gotten a little rusty on the comedic timing. Plus, he's doing this whole Eastern European bit and it falls flat on its ass. You can see his acting wheels spinning as he's on screen. The whole time I had this daunting, cringeinducing image of him practicing being funny in his trailer before filming. Poor Bacon.
Aside from that, however, the movie ends up being watchable and at times entertaining. The main characters are not caricatures of stereotypes, but positive characters.
Plus, the movie has an important message.
It is very empowering for women, especially black women. It emphasizes self-reliance and steadfast determination in the face of adversity. They also throw in some Maya Angelou poetry, and that's always inspiring.
"Beauty Shop" is not profound or moving or anything we haven't seen before. But it's an entertaining movie - a decent way to spend a couple hours.