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MGM Studios DVD presents
Beauty Shop (2005)

Jorge: You are going to fall flat on your ass.Gina: Well, I've got some cushion. Wanna kiss it?
- Kevin Bacon, Queen Latifah

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: August 22, 2005

Stars: Queen Latifah, Alicia Silverstone, Andie MacDowell
Other Stars: Alfrie Woodard, Mena Suvari, Kevin Bacon, Djimon Hounsou, Paige Hurd
Director: Bille Woodruff

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (sexual material, language, brief drug references)
Run Time: 01h:45m:08s
Release Date: August 23, 2005
UPC: 027616929006
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C- DA-B+ C

DVD Review

Spin-off films and TV series are a dime a dozen these days, but they usually stem from the success of a comic book film or something more action oriented. 2005's Beauty Shop came about due to the success of the Barbershop franchise, which currently consists of two pictures. Those were surprisingly entertaining, very successful projects and serve as the rare example of a sequel actually being better than the original. It was in Barbershop 2 that we were introduced, briefly, to the character of Gina (Queen Latifah), who went at it in some great exchanges with Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), one of the establishment's loyal customers. Gina was very well received by audiences, and Queen Latifah's career was on the upswing (thanks to Chicago), so it was a no-brainer for the people behind the franchise to expand on Gina's story with Beauty Shop.

The spin-off didn't fare as well at the box office, or with critics, as its parent films did, taking in only about half the gross of the sequel and a bit more than a third of what the original brought in. After experiencing Beauty Shop, however, I'm hoping that the financial disappointment means that Latifah's hair salon will be closed for good and there isn't a Beauty Shop 2 in the near future.

It isn't long before we meet Gina, who is currently employed at the beauty shop of one of the vilest, egocentric high-fashion wannabes in Atlanta, Jorge (Kevin Bacon). Gina has relocated there from Chicago with her daughter Vanessa (Paige Hurd), who is an aspiring musician. Her main drive to work stems from her desire to have Vanessa attend a prestigious music school. After one-too-many run-ins with Jorge, Gina finally tells him off and quits.

After an impromptu makeover of a bank's loan officer, Gina finds herself investing in a rundown beauty salon of her own. She uses her undeniable charms and hairstyling skills to establish a small client base that rapidly grows as word hits the street. She also recruits some of her co-workers from Jorge's place, including the shampoo girl, Lynn (Alicia Silverstone), a southern belle who turns out to have been underutilized at her old job. Along the way, Gina meets Joe (Djimon Hounsou), an attractive piano player that just might be the inspiration she needs to make her new venture a huge success.

Latifah is actually very strong as Gina, and is far from being the film's problem. The story just isn't very involving, interesting, or funny, and leaves the audience with an empty feeling at the end of the (overly long) 105 minutes. We get every cliché in the book, from the snooty European designer (Bacon's character), to the hunky love interest that lives near Gina. The entire plot seems like fluff and filler, never elevating the project above an elongated TV sit-com.

The rest of the cast doesn't help matters, with Alicia Silverstone being more annoying than ever, Andie MacDowell (as a customer who suspects her husband is cheating on her) coming across as surprisingly creepy, and each of Gina's employees being there seemingly only to deliver hateful one-liners. The only bright spot is Kevin Bacon, taking his amazing acting skills to another realm entirely. His portrayal of Jorge has him made up in wild clothes straight out of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and his strong European accent has to be heard to be believed. Forget about incorporating the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game with Beauty Shop, because you'll probably want to forget how any of the rest of these actors (save Queen Latifah) is tied to such a fine performer.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: D

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review: There is the option to watch Beauty Shop in either 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, or pan-and-scan. It's a no-brainer that the widescreen version is the only one to watch, unless, that is, you want to part of the image cut off and those annoying camera pans. The widescreen presentation features crystal clear images during most of the film, with grain and dirt rearing their ugly heads only sparingly. Bright colors play a huge part in the overall look of the film, and the rendering of those couldn't have been better.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 track works very well in regards to what this sort of material calls for. Most of the action comes from the front speakers, but the hip-hop soundtrack spreads to the rears enough to make them effective. That music brings about nice, tight, and aggressive bass that gives the subwoofer a bit of a workout too. The dialogue is crisp and clear as well, and blends in nicely with everything else.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Gag Reel
  2. Selected Scenes Commentary with Director Bille Woodruff
Extras Review: I expected a few more extras for this somewhat high-profile theatrical release, but we do have an audio commentary track for 12 of the scenes. Director Bille Woodruff talks about each of these scenes with more enthusiasm that he apparently put into the film itself, and is surprisingly funny during many of these discussions.

There's also a featurette that runs for just under 15 minutes called Beauty Shop: Inside the Style, which is a basic EPK fluff piece.

A five-minute gag reel is also available, and it includes segments that are often funnier than the film itself.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

There's an instant audience for Beauty Shop in those who enjoyed the first two Barbershop films, but beyond that, director Billie Woodruff doesn't give much reason to check this out. Still, MGM Home Video has done a nice job with their DVD, thanks to excellent audio and video presentations, and a few decent extras.

 


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