"Barbershop" redux, only with girls

The Salon

on May 11, 2007 by Tim Cogshell
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The very existence of Barbershop and its sequel should have dissuaded the producers of The Salon (an adaptation of Shelley Garrett's hit stage play, Beauty Shop ) from pursuing a project that could do little more than beg unfavorable comparisons to the popular Ice Cube-starring series set in its titular place of business. To produce a movie that bites the format, both in form and substance, of those films so completely forces one to note those bites pointedly. Though the Barbershop films have provided audiences with the diminishing satisfaction of a thinning mullet with each repeated wash-rinse, they are at least original, in a relative sort of way.

Jenny (Vivica A. Fox) is the stalwart and prudent owner of the only community business left in a fairly bereft minority community. Her shop is one of those places where people gather to sort out the day's issues, public and personal, and solve the problems of the world. The shop has been marked for destruction by an act of eminent domain. Jenny ain't having it, so, unbeknownst to her staff of quirky characters and wacky clients, she decides to take the matter to court. There's a handsome lawyer who works for the city for that added (and requisite) dash of romance.

The theme notwithstanding, the "quirky" and "wacky" assortment of employees and salon regulars in the film is yet another nibble from the Barbershop franchise, along with issues of black culture, social taboos and as many stereotype as will fit into 92 minutes of cinematic entertainment. At this point in the history of ethnic cinema, none of it is particularly offensive, though director/writer Mark Brown ( Barbershop , Two Can Play That Game ) does cull the occasional hysterically funny bit of shuffling from those members of his cast so inclined. One suspects that it's a balanced representation of the "minority" community the filmmakers are going for—so be it. Still, it'd all be a good deal funnier if we hadn't seen every second of it before, only with boys. Distributor: Bigger Picture
Cast: Vivica A. Fox, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Kym Whitley, Terrence Howard, Monica Calhoun and Garrett Morris
Director/Screenwriter: Mark Brown
Producers: Mark Brown, Vivica A. Fox and Carl Craig
Genre: Romantic comedy
Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language and some thematic material
Running time: 92 min.
Release date: May 11, 2007
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