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The Salon

By Wendy Ward | Posted 5/16/2007

Maybe Beauty Shop--Shelly Garrett's source play, which told the little, big story of a black woman-owned beauty salon filled with diverse employees and clients just trying to claim a safe foothold in a rundown neighborhood--rang as true as a gospel choir on the Sunday morning after a block party, but the movie version is so clogged down with clichés and predictable, one-dimensional characters that it's as flat at a playbill. Vivica A. Fox looks like she's trying to give a rounded performance as Jenny, the shop owner, but she's the only one allowed to express more than one emotion. Everyone else has a specific role to play: gay (De'Angelo Wilson), white-girl-loving black dude (Dondre Whitfield), gold digger (Monica Calhoun), flirty old man (Garrett Morris), abusive boyfriend (Terrence Howard), liberated black girl (Kym Whitley), white woman with cornrows (Brooke Burns). And when Jenny's son (Dabir Snell) gets sent home from school for fighting, you think it's for defending the fact that he doesn't have a dad, right? But it's worse: He punches a kid for claiming black people didn't contribute anything to American history. The movie feels like it was made 10 years ago, and name-checking Anna Nicole Smith as if she were alive isn't making it feel current. Hey, you know a movie's exploring no new ground when it's most original character is our city plastered with believe signs in the background.

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