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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is an urban comedy in the style of Barbershop and Beauty Shop. The action takes place in a Baltimore hair salon where no topic is off-limits. The stylists discuss homosexuality (one of them is gay), sex, adultery, interracial relationships, spanking, and more. In one scene, a street walker is challenged to demonstrate the tricks of her trade on a banana. Homophobia is addressed throughout the film, most prominently when the openly gay stylist gets egged by insult-hurling teens. Some of the conversations may be too raunchy for young teens -- but, on the flip side, the movie offers a positive representation of minority-run businesses that are important in their communities.
What's the story?
Vivica A. Fox stars as Jenny, the owner of an established inner-city Baltimore salon where all the workers are exaggerated African-American stereotypes. There's the sassy, overweight gossip (Kym Whitley); the Beyoncé-bottomed lover (Tiffany Adams), the flamboyant homosexual (De'Angelo Wilson); the straight guy who loves white ladies (Dondre Whitfield), and Jenny -- the no-nonsense heart of the operation who keeps the shampoo flowing.
Is it any good?
In addition to all the candid (read: raunchy) conversations about sex, ass-whuppin' mamas, and guys who live on the down low, the flimsy plot has the salon getting bought out due to eminent domain. Will the kooky crew of stylists and their clients have nowhere to hang and holler? Heaven forbid! If it weren't for Jenny's single earnest lecture to her son about all the highlights of African-American history, The Salon would seem like a start-to-finish affront to black culture.
And by now, the comic setting of an urban hair shop has been duly covered by Barbershop, its sequel, and Beauty Shop. But apparently nobody told writer-director Mark Brown that, because he went ahead and made yet another comedy about THE SALON.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how movies like this portray African-American communities. Do they send positive messages or negative ones (or some of each)? Do they reinforce stereotypes or help defuse them? How? Families can also discuss the importance of communities in general, as well as the contributions that African Americans have made to society -- in arts, sciences, sports, entertainment, and more.
- In theaters: May 11, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: August 7, 2007
- Cast: Darrin Dewitt Henson, Kym Whitley, Vivica A. Fox
- Director: Mark Brown
- Studio: Freestyle Releasing
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: crude and sexual content, language and some thematic material.