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"The half-hour flew by!  Well, maybe it didn't fly by, but it definitely walked briskly by."










Beauty Shop
The Masked Reviewer

It's a whole new approach to movie reviewing.  The Masked Reviewer saw the first 30 minutes of this film, and then he had to go.  Why?  Where?  Who knows.  The Masked Reviewer is an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, smothered in secret sauce.

But what to do?  Should the Masked Reviewer not review the film at all...or should the Masked Reviewer give his loyal readers his opinions of the first thirty half-hour?  You guessed it!  Something is better than nothing, as they say (unless it relates to the results of a V.D. test).

Queen Latifah stars as Gina in this spin-off of Barber Shop, which probably had something to do with hair cutting.  In case any of you are wondering whether Queen Latifah is a real queen...yes, she is.  She took over the job as the Big Cheese in England.  Elizabeth couldn't take it any more, and after seeing Chicago, she knew Latifah was right for the job.  So stop asking.

This seems like a movie that would have a few cameos from the Barber Shop movies...maybe Cedric the Entertainer or Ice Cube or someone.  If they do appear, they didn't in the first 30 minutes, other than in a photo that Queen Latifah keeps on her hairdressing mirror.  Hey!  Reviewing only the first 30 minutes makes it much easier to avoid spoilers! 

The movie has a lot of star power, including Alfre Woodard, Andie MacDowell, Alicia Silverstone, Mena Suvari, Djimon Hounsou, and Kevin Bacon.  Okay, none of them are huge stars, but they're all well-known, and having a case full of recognizable faces is worth one or two huge stars and dozens of unknowns, right?  Also in the cast is Keshia Knight Pulliam, who you might remember as Rudy from "The Cosby Show".  She's all grown up now, and won on both "Celebrity Fear Factor" and "Celebrity Weakest Link".  So, there you go.

Kevin Bacon plays an angry rival hair salon owner.  His character is effeminate and foreign -- it's nice to see they decided to play against tired stereotypes.  Then again, the Masked Reviewer didn't see the end of the maybe they did break new ground.  Hey, it's yet another good thing about only seeing the beginning of the movie!  Anything could have happened!

Alicia Silverstone plays a girl with a southern accent.  The movie is set in Atlanta, which is in the south.  Even if you live in Miami, which is further south, Atlanta is still south.  Alicia Silverstone's accent is very southern, and you can almost feel the hot Georgia sun on the back of your neck when she talks.  That's good acting, that is.

There are a few mild laughs in the first half hour.  Maybe they saved the big belly-busters for the last hour...but the first thirty minutes are neither good nor bad...they're okay.  Queen Latifah has a charm and screen presence that's fun to watch, but the writing is weak.  There's some wisecracking and a definite "attitude", probably similar to what was found in Barber Shop, but since the Masked Reviewer didn't see that (or 30 minutes of it, even) it's hard to compare. 

At one point, the wife of a player from the Atlanta Hawks shows up at the titular beauty shop.  They used a name for this player -- it might have been real.  Who knows?  Can anyone name a player from the Hawks in the last ten years?  Dominique Wilkins?  He's better known for his "Honey Nut Cheerios" ads.  Okay, okay, relax.  No need to send angry letters.  It's just a joke.  The Hawks are rebuilding.

So, that's about it.  The pacing seems okay.  The half-hour flew by!  Well, maybe it didn't fly by, but it definitely walked briskly by.  It might be worth checking out if you are a big fan of Queen Latifah or some of the other ensemble cast.  Otherwise, though, it seems like a movie that didn't have a clear direction -- granted, the Masked Reviewer didn't see much of it, but what little he did see didn't seem to really be driving towards anything.


Expectation from the Title: The place you can go to buy good looks...also hides a sinister evil.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  Everyone's hair looked very nice.

The Pros:  Queen Latifah and the rest of the cast are fun to watch.

The Cons: There didn't seem to be much of a story, a few too many hackneyed stereotypes.

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