Beauty Shop

1 out of 10


Walk-Outs Expected

In a spin-off from the successful "Barbershop" films, the laughless "Beauty Shop" is a clear result of Hollywood executives cashing in on this successful genre of black-American humour, shot low cost on a studio film set. Unlike the predecessors, however, there is nothing inspired about it - the moments of spontaneous ad lib genius by Cedric the Entertainer are gone as is the sense of genuine determination that Ice Cube bought to the screen as the struggling entrepreneur and family man with dreams. Instead, this is a "paint-by-numbers" flick that sticks closely to the dead hand of the studio's phoney formula.

Like some Oprah barbie bad dream, Queen Latifah returns as Gina Norris from "Barbershop 2" to start her on business in a film that lacks credibility to the poiint of surrealism. Despite supposedly moving to Atlanta from Chicago, the studio has used EXACTLY the same set as "Barbershop", with no more than a repaint and all the memorabilia that created the atmosphere, long gone and lost. Meanwhile Latifah, a supposedly small struggling businesswoman, never dresses twice in the same 5th Avenue outfit. And, as for a beauty shop, they do remarkably nothing but cut hair, showing a total absence of understanding of the title concept that even a 4-year old would know. Just how stupid do they think their audience are?

It is a testimony to Mark Brown, the Englishman who wrote the first two Barbershop movies, that the three writers (Elizabeth Hunter, Kate Lanier and Norman Vance Jr.) wheeled in by the studio are able to offer nothing but a set of contrived plot devices in place of a story: the cute kid, the one white trash girl trying to fit in amongst an outwise black staff and the oddball man amongst the women are all hurled into a flick that is nothing but filler. With "Barbershop" it was a struggle to not laugh, but with "Beauty Shop" it is a struggle not to snore.

To direct this mess, the studio hired Bille Woodruff, leaving it no surprise that most of the supporting cast are a bunch of talentless hiphop wannabes who look as if they have just stepped out of the make-up department rather than done a hard day's work, when one considers his background in making pop videos.

Featuring Andie MacDowell who career was stopped dead with the lead sinker "Town & Country" and Alicia Silverstone who clearly hasn't seen much in the way of work for years, "Beauty Shop" is clearly a home for the washed up and closely resembles a American TV sitcom, with the sole difference that any series this bad would have been pulled by executives long before it reached 90 minutes of airtime.

About as funny as having a bad hair day

Film Critic:Robert L Thompsett