Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Beauty Shop

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual material, language and brief drug references

Reviewed by: Lori Souder

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults
1 hr. 45 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
March 30, 2005
Featuring: Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard, Alicia Silverstone, Andie MacDowell, Della Reese
Director: Bille Woodruff
Producer: Robert Teitel, George Tillman Jr., Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere, David Hoberman
Distributor: MGM
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As the movie opens, we see into the daily life of Gina (Queen Latifa), a likeable and talented hairstylist who works for an unsufferable salon owner Jorge played by Kevin Bacon. Gina has her hands full with her demanding job as well as being a single mother (she is widowed) with a precocious pre-teenage daughter and a young sister in law who is always getting into trouble. The star studded cast features such talented actors as Djimon Hounsou, Alfre Woodard, Bryce Wilson, Della Reese, Alicia Silverstone and Keshia Knight Pulliam.

Gina is ready to go out on her own, and after Jorge (pronounced “whore-hey”—which is a running joke in the movie) finally pushes her too far, she quits and starts looking for a way to open her own beauty shop instead of working for someone else. After securing a bank loan by making-over a bank clerk in the ladies room, she finds a run-down 1970’s style beauty shop in the “neighborhood” and starts up her enterprise.

By a stroke of luck, her new love interest is right upstairs and also is an electrician, the man she really needs to help fix up the place as well as her lonely life.

The movie has some good moral values—showing Gina working hard for money and self respect rather than getting it the wrong way. She also tries to influence her sister in-law to respect herself and stay away from the wrong kind of man and take responsibility for herself and her finances.

There is very little violence in the movie; problems are settled in non-violent ways.

There is a lot of talk about respect in the movie, but it is the women who are incredibly disrespectful to each other and their own bodies. The adult men in the movie are all respectful and charming, while the women utter all the bad language and crude humor. The topics of sex and body parts are never more than a sentence away, it seems, in this movie. Sometimes the sexual references and suggestions are extremely blatant and distasteful. There is quite a lot of bare middrifts and cleavage as well. The language is very course and “hip-hop” influenced, as you might expect in this movie.

One of the worst scenes is on the dance floor where Lynn (Alicia Silverstone) preforms sexually aggressive moves in an attempt to determine (we are supposed to surmise this) if her handsome dance partner, James, is a homosexual. James’ sexual orientation is a big part of the plot of the movie, is he, or isn’t he? Didn’t that used to be the big question about the woman who went to the beauty shop, did she get her hair dyed, or is it natural? Obviously, things have changed a lot at the beauty shop.

If you can look past all the taking of the Lord’s name in vain, all the references to sex and drugs, the endless comparing of body parts and disrespect to women, you might be able to get a laugh or two out of this movie. Its heart is in the right place, and the story line with Gina is great, but apparently it was thought that the audience would require constant sexual references and trashy language or they would fall asleep.

I don’t recommend this movie for teenagers. Some adults might enjoy it, but I was hoping for so much more from Queen Latifah who had a lot of control in the making of the movie since she was one of the producers. Kevin Bacon was amusing as the Jorge character, but the excellent cast was not enough to make this movie memorable or palatable.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

Viewer Comments
Negative—I should have walked out, but kept hoping this movie would prove to have some redeeming values. Although there was a message of perserverance, as well as some loving relationships-ovreall, it was trash!
My Ratings: Very Offensive/1½
—Roxanne B Suggs, age 43
Movie Critics
…the film is more about humor and heart than a clever story…
—Claudia Puig, USA Today
…It’s the nature of the movie business to grind any successful formula down to flavorless gruel, and that’s what has happened with “Beauty Shop”, a dull-as-dirt…
—Bill Muller, The Arizona Republic
Queen Latifah exudes a quiet confidence that sort of hugs the movie, making it feel warmer than the “Barbershop” films…
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
…plays like a pilot for a TV sitcom. It sets up enough story threads for an entire season yet nothing much actually happens during the 105-minute running time.
—Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
Queen Latifah is irresistible…
—Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution