Beauty Shop (review)

This Barbershop spinoff is like a wan, third-generation photocopy, only with chicks, and despite the fact that it’s an enormous mess, the terrific cast is undeniably ingratiating. Hair stylist Gina Norris (Queen Latifah: Taxi) has moved from Chicago (the character appeared in Barbershop 2: Back in Business) to Atlanta, where — after escaping from a nightmare job at a chichi salon run by obnoxious Eurotrash Jorge Christophe (Kevin Bacon: In the Cut) — she opens her own place. It’s funky, it’s cool, it’s hot — it’s exactly the same kind of morass of stereotypes as the establishment in Chicago, only with chicks. The humor is tired, obvious, and runs to cheap shots at everyone based on their skin color, and at gays of any color… and though the “jokes” are barely amusing to start with, they’re beaten beyond the edge of anything resembling funny. With the exception of Latifah, who is her usual effortlessly winning self, the entire cast looks uncomfortable, like they suspect they’ve been miscast (they have) and go way overboard in order to make up for it, particularly Bacon, Alfre Woodard (The Forgotten), as a kooky hairdresser/tarot reader, and Djimon Hounsou (Constantine), as Gina’s forced love interest. But their immense talent shines through nevertheless, and you yearn to see them working with a script worthy of them.

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