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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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This ‘Beauty’ is only skin deep for Latifah

Grade: C

Queen Latifah stars in her new movie “Beauty Shop” as Gina Norris, the no-nonsense hair stylist who moves from Chicago — the setting for the original “Barbershop” — to Atlanta to open her new shop.

The previous characters from “Barbershop” are referenced only in a group picture and in dialogue, but do not appear.

“Beauty Shop” has interesting themes of entrepreneurship and opportunity.

Norris must open a new shop to pay for her daughter Vanessa, played by Paige Hurd, to attend an expensive music school.

Norris gets her salon off the ground with help from a local electrician named Joe, played by Dijmon Hounsou.

Alfre Woodard plays Miss Josephine, a salon employee who speaks her mind and recites Maya Angelou’s poems.

Other stylists include Lynn, played by Alicia Silverstone and James, played Bryce Wilson.

Heartthrob James predictably creates some romantic tension among the women, but it’s rival salon manager Jorge Christophe, played by Kevin Bacon, who causes the most problems.

Bacon looks the part and does his best “Hanz and Franz” voice imitation while his most popular clients Terri (Andie MacDowell) and Joanne (Mena Suvari) defect to Gina’s Beauty Shop.

An almost unrecognizable Keshia Knight Pulliam — who was Rudy on “The Cosby Show” — plays Darnell, Norris’ niece.

Della Reese has a small scene as Mrs. Towner, but unfortunately, she is not seen again.

The story has lots of racy dialogue, male and female objectification and a lot of discussion that tests social and cultural norms. Screenwriters Kate Lanier and Norman Vance, Jr. balance comedy with crisis, making the film tame and enjoyable. However, it doesn’t have enough good characters and comedy to hold the film up.

Norris contends with loan officers and board inspectors while managing her co-workers throughout melodramatic situations.

Unengaging, predictable conventions such as the rally to keep the shop open, a large group of eclectic characters and conveniently timed situations show no innovation.

Comedy takes a back seat as Norris shifts from trading insults with Eddie in “Barbershop 2” to romancing love interest, Joe and handling family drama with Paige and Darnell.

Latifah tries to force some solo laughs by including jokes about Joe’s African spears. But all she can muster is a few laughs when there are other characters involved.

“Beauty Shop” has good music showcasing piano work from Hounsou and Hurd plus some memorable songs on the soundtrack including “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” by the Spinners.

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