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.