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Beauty Shop is a spin-off from the immensely successful Barber Shop movies, Barbershop (2002) and Barbershop 2: Back In Business (2004). Both starred and were produced by hip-hop hero turned actor Ice Cube (XXX: State Of The Union). Fellow rapper Queen Latifah (Chicago) also featured in Barbershop 2 as the feisty Gina. Beauty Shop sees her move from the Windy City of Chicago to the Southern metropolis of Atlanta?Working for someone else just isn?t hairdresser Gina?s style, especially given her boss?s name is ?Jorge? and he?s a pretentious bonehead. Milking this illegally blonde role for all it?s worth, Kevin Bacon plays said bonehead, liberating himself from the recent heavy drama of The Woodsman. Pushed to the brink, Gina quits, starts her own salon, and recruits friends to sign on, and Jorge?s best clients. He?s well displeased, and boy does he play nasty?Aside from Bacon?s hilarious performance, there are many highlights in Beauty Shop. Perhaps the best way to describe it is as an African-American equivalent to TV series Sex And The City. There is a lot of girl talk going on, some romance, soul-searching and out-and-out cheeky humour, with a dash of a ?state of the union? racial discussion thrown in. (The formula is much the same as the Barbershop movies ? Ice Cube?s presence as Executive Producer of Beauty Shop keeps the quality consistent).Beauty Shop does tend to fall down when it tries to be more serious, and certainly it won?t be for everyone. Like Coach Carter last week, this too is a black ?folk? movie, aimed at an urban African-American demographic. But there is a big audience in Australia who supports this fare ? and can relate to it - whether in cinemas or straight-to-DVD (Ice Cube?s series of Friday films, break out hits, are popular rentals in not only the States but Australia as well). As a fan of black American cinema, for my money Beauty Shop hit all its marks and made me laugh more than most ?comedies? do.

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