What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie has some pretty explicit and raunchy material for a PG-13, including a detailed discussion of bikini waxes, conversation about breast implants and sex toys, a reference to a "pimp hat," speculation about whether a character is gay, and some earthy and vivid sexual references ("a freak in the bedroom," references to misshapen genitalia and sex toys). Strengths of the movie include its portrayal of strong, loyal, and independent women and minorities and its frank exploration of racism by both blacks and whites and its depiction of inter-racial relationships.
What's the story?
Queen Latifah plays Gina, a single mom who walks out of her job working for the Man, the supercilious Jorge (Kevin Bacon) so she can start her own beauty shop. She brings along sweet Lynn (Alicia Silverstone) for a bit of reverse-racism humor and takes on irascible Miss Josephine (Alfre Woodard) for those "No! She did not just say that!" moments. Keshia Knight Pulliam, once little Rudy on "The Cosby Show," is all grown up as Darnelle, Gina's relative who has to learn that a job is more rewarding than getting bling from dates. Like Barbershop, future of Gina's shop is on the line, there is an ex-con (Bryce Wilson) to raise questions about, but most of all, this is a chance to listen in on some outrageously spicy conversations.
Is it any good?
Beauty Shop is a sort of Barbershop 2.0, with Queen Latifah replacing Ice Cube, Alicia Silverstone as Troy Garrity, and Alfre Woodard as Cedric the Entertainer. The script has a second-hand feeling and what plot there is seems like an afterthought, awkward and inconsistent. A big fuss over a possible sale of Gina's special conditioner to Cover Girl fizzles out (Latifah is spokesmodel for Cover Girl).
What the movie has going for it is attractive performers who make it work much better than it should, especially the wonderfully warm and appealing Queen Latifah and certified dreamboat Djimon Hounsou as the electrician who lives upstairs. Silverstone, and Andie MacDowell and Mena Suvari as Gina's customers, do their best but are never able to make their one-note roles rise above the weak screenplay. In other words, this one needs a makeover.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why some of the white and black characters are resistant to becoming friends with each other and why others are not. What lessons does Gina teach Willie and Darnelle?