Parents' Guide to

Bad Hair

By Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Funny satire has social commentary, gore, sex, and language.

Movie NR 2020 102 minutes
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A funny satire that's equal parts comedy and camp horror, Bad Hair boasts a clever script, an entertaining period setting, and a fantastic all-star cast. Beneath the gore, which is mostly -- though not entirely -- contained to a third-act slasher sequence, there's quite a lot of social commentary. The new white male boss (James Van Der Beek) assigned to overhaul an all-Black TV channel is made out to be a kind of modern-day plantation owner. His top executive (Williams) has light skin and flowing hair, prompting lots of self questioning and mutual judging among the Black women on staff (including a hilarious Lena Waithe). The laden process of assimilating by taking on a whiter European appearance boils beneath the surface, and there's talk of "us" and "them."

The film takes place in a late-'80s MTV-style channel targeting Black audiences. The saturated look of the film and the playing with camera angles (above, below, circling characters) feels straight out of the '80s, though the story could easily take place today, which viewers might be reminded of by the present-day celebrity cast, including Usher, Waithe, Blair Underwood, Kelly Rowland, and Cox, among others. Underwood, as Anna's scholarly Uncle Amos, has a key scene in the film where he talks about how a people can be subjugated when their science, faith, and wisdom are all undermined. In Bad Hair, women are suppressed, mistreated, and ignored, all due to the devaluing of natural attributes like their hair.

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