You go, girl – and take ‘Beauty Shop’ with you | PostIndependent.com
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You go, girl – and take ‘Beauty Shop’ with you

If “Barbershop” represented the expansion of the comic barbershop scenes in “Coming to America” to a full-length film, “Beauty Shop” is its final, fatal Oprahfication.While the former held promise back in 1988 when Eddie Murphy made “Coming to America,” the latter was probably inevitable way back then, too.If that seems like an old movie to reference, that should give you an idea of how shopworn “Beauty Shop” is. The “Coming to America” barbershop’s quartet of Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Clint Smith still makes me laugh nearly 20 years later. On the other hand, “Beauty Shop” made me laugh three times in an hour and 45 minutes – twice in response to Little J.J. as candy-bar pimp Willie, once at Queen Latifah’s spear scene. Those, and a sudden pang of hope that “Barbershop” might have been funny, were the only things “Beauty Shop” really had going for it.The cast might be a selling point if the movie didn’t misuse it so woefully. Latifah is better than “Beauty Shop” deserves as hairdresser Gina, who longs for her own shop away from Euroboss Jorge (Kevin Bacon, either trying to simplify that six-degrees game to three or in more dire financial straits than any of us knew).But not even Latifah can turn the retread plot and stale humor into something satisfying. She’s just the best at delivering the weak you-go-girl platitudes and lame jokes with which the script saddles the cast. They also have to try too hard to emphasize the “hip” in this hip-hop “Steel Magnolias”: Rolling your r’s was novel when Nelly introduced it in 2001 and funny when Chingy kept it up a couple of years ago, but it’s herre, thurr and everrywhurr in “Beauty Shop.”If you thought that last sentence was irritating, skip “Beauty Shop,” and you won’t have to hear California girl Alicia Silverstone do the exact same thing in butchering a Georgia accent. Andie MacDowell, a native of Gaffney, S.C., might be the only one even close to speaking naturally, but that might be the only thing natural about her presence. She and Mena Suvari are ostensibly the clients who would follow Gina to the ends of the earth – or at least Five Points – for her special conditioner, but the desire for a crossover hit probably explains it all better.The premise behind “Beauty Shop” held promise even through “Barbershop” and its sequel. But after 18 years of clipping, cutting and teasing it into the style producers wanted, the final result is no thing of beauty.


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