Saturday, November 21, 2009

She Walks in Beauty

What do you expect from Queen Latifah's Beauty Shop? If you're looking for sassy girltalk, gritty determination, light comedy and an unthreatening look at race relations, well, you've got it.

The Queen plays a hairdresser at Jorge Cristoff's tony Atlanta salon. Jorge, played with zest by Kevin Bacon as a swishy Austrian martinet, fires her for giving shampoo girl Alicia Silverstone a break. So she sets out to set up her own shop with Alicia, some stolen customers and a tiny bank loan.

Latifah is the widowed mother of a musical prodigy, and seems to be supporting her mother-in-law and teenaged hootchy sister-in-law as well. The guy upstairs from the shop is a cute, sensitive African electrician and musician - a little too perfect boyfriend material. But he isn't gay - that role is played a hunky ex-con that Latifah hires as a hairdresser and eye-candy for the girls.

And so on. There isn't much of a plot. Latifah has troubles, people do nice things to her, or bad things. Colorful characters come and go - Little JJ as a grade-school playa wannabe, Andy McDowell as a la-di-da Atlanta society wife, Adele Givens as a hot-talking DJ. Alicia Silverstone faces racial prejudice from the African-American hairdresssers and customers, and overcomes it. Lacing it all together, aerial shots of sweet downtown Atlanta.

I can't say there is anything groundbreaking here - this is just a fun, cozy little movie. I haven't seen the Barbershop movies that it is loosely based on, but I imagine it's about the same. The two main things it's got going for it are:
  • Sassy dialog - Unfortunately, I'm way too white to quote any. But it is a joy to hear the girls lay it down. Queen Latifah has a few soliloquys that sound like rap that doesn't rhyme.
  • Kevin Bacon - he has way too much fun as the limp hair-tossing mean celebrity hairdresser.


mr. schprock said...

If you can guarantee the sassy girl talk, maybe I'll see it. But by god it better be sassy.

Beveridge D. Spenser said...

Girlfriend, QL is all about the sassy. So don't go there!