The spin off for the “Barbershop” movie is a good idea on paper. On paper. I mean Queen Latifah is better at acting than Ice Cube, so it seemed like a slam dunk. The attempted launch of a new series within the “Barbershop” franchise is not only one big misfire, but it’s dead on arrival from minute one. “Beauty Shop” isn’t a prequel, or a sequel, but mainly just a movie that’s set in the universe of “Barbershop.” When we see Gina Norris from “Barbershop 2” again, she’s working at an upscale salon in Atlanta and she has a picture of the gang from Calvin’s shop hanging on her mirror. Beyond that there isn’t much at all to “Beauty Shop.”
After being recruited to a hot new boutique in Atlanta, Gina finds her niche among an upscale boss named Jorge. But after an altercation, she seeks to open her own salon. Armed with some young hair stylists, including former co-worker Lyne, Gina hopes to make a success out of her business, as Jorge looks for ways to sabotage her. Meanwhile, she begins falling for a local mailman, all the while ensuring her daughter does well in her performing arts school. When it’s not being insanely silly, it painfully mimics the “Barbershop” movie series but just flips it. Instead of a beautiful woman working in a barbershop, we’ll have a good looking guy working the beauty shop! Instead of a white guy working among African American men, we’ll have a Southern white girl working among African American women!
Oh and unlike Troy Garity, this new character will constantly be asking “Gee y’all, why can’t white people say the N word?!” Oh and instead of an old barber preaching about life, we’ll have an older woman sitting by the side, moaning about poetry! Man, this movie is writing itself. To make things worse, so much of the movie is so trite and doesn’t have any kind of thought put in to it. I kind of saw where everything was going from the moment some scenes were established. So Gina can’t get a loan for her new shop, because her loan manager is tough but she’s also quite disheveled. So Gina follows her in to the bathroom and gives her a make over to catch the eye of her bank manager. The loan manager is so enamored by the make over that she gives Gina the loan. Isn’t life so sugary sweet? And to add to the goofy sitcom clichés, Gina plans to buy an upscale salon but can only afford a run down seventies boutique.
Wouldn’t you know it? Despite barely getting the loan she needed, she’s able to completely whip her place up in shape, with some good classic music, and a great montage. I’d excuse all of that if “Beauty Shop” had an actual plot. With this spin off, there is nothing but a sequence of events that unfold, and beyond the goofy “girl power” overtones, there isn’t a plot to be seen at all. If anything, the cast are very good. I especially enjoy Queen Latifah as Gina, while Alicia Silverstone is fun as Lyne. Beyond that, “Beauty Shop” is a weak regurgitation of its male counterpart. Say what you want about the “Barbershop” series but it earned a short lived series, and attempted reboot, while “Beauty Shop”—uh—has Andie MacDowell asking black women about that “Janice Jackson.” Because she’s white.
The Blu-Ray from the MVD Marquee Collection includes select commentary for certain scenes in the film. Although the commentary plays through the whole movie, director Bille Woodruff only contributes thirty five minutes of commentary altogether. “Beauty Shop: Inside the Style” is a fifteen minute EPK that takes a glossier, superficial look at the making of the movie with Latifah hosting. There’s your standard gag reel with people flubbing lines and laughing, and “Beauty Shop: Sneak Peek” which is a more truncated EPK with just as superficial coverage as the former. Finally there are the original trailers for this, “Barbershop,” and “Barbershop 2.”