Beauty Shop (2005)

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Released 14-Nov-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Billie Woodruff (Director) - Selected Scenes
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Beauty Shop-Inside The Style
Outtakes
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 100:57
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (66:27) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bille Woodruff
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Queen Latifah
Alicia Silverstone
Andie MacDowell
Alfre Woodard
Mena Suvari
Della Reese
Golden Brooks
Laura Hayes
Paige Hurd
Little JJ
Lisaraye
Keshia Knight Pulliam
Sherri Shepherd
Case ?
RPI ? Music David Reynolds
Christopher Young


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Polish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Portuguese
Greek
Hungarian
Hebrew
Slovenian
Croatian
Bulgarian
Romanian
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Queen Latifah is carving out a small niche for herself in the Romantic Comedy genre, the latest of which is Beauty Shop, a pseudo-sequel for the popular Barbershop films. Latifah plays the same character she played in Barbershop 2: Back in Business, single mother Gina, a hairdresser from Chicago, who has now moved to Atlanta for the benefit of her talented piano-playing daughter, Vanessa (Paige Hurd). Gina is the best hairstylist in Jorge's salon, a very white beauty salon run by Jorge, a pretentious, preening b**** with a phoney accent, played with delicious ham by Kevin Bacon. After one too many put downs, Gina storms out and sets up her own beauty salon, deep in the heart of the ghetto. However, this is a romantic comedy, so the ghetto is remarkably pleasant and affluent, and looks surprisingly like a Hollywood studio backlot.

    Beauty Shop touches very lightly upon issues of race, and perhaps in America it is hard not to acknowledge it when your star is African-American, however Gina will not tolerate the N word in her shop. And she also won't tolerate discrimination against Lynn (Alicia Silverstone), the young, white shampoo girl with her own aspirations. Lynn's acceptance within the tight-knit sistahood of the shop, which also includes Alfre Woodard, Sherri Shepherd, Golden Brooks, and Keshia Knight Pulliam, is hard-won and ultimately successful when she ditches her country-hick routine and adopts the hip-hop style and vernacular of her co-workers. Black and white is not an issue when Gina lures two of her faithful customers, Terri (Andie MacDowell) and Joanne (Mena Suvari), from Jorge's, however it does precipitate a conflict between breasts and butts. Beauty Shop is well and truly in favour of big booties, as Joanne constantly gets chastised when she opts for breast implants, but Terri becomes one of the sistas when she eats herself to a bigger backside. At the start of the film, when Vanessa tells her mum that her pants make her butt look big, Gina replies, "Perfect!"

    Director Bille Woodruff has come from a music video background, but has no trouble making the transition to feature-length comedy, developing a light and humorous tone, even though the film occasionally veers into more serious issues of race, prejudice, and sexuality. And lurking in the background is the issue of whether the new male hair stylist, James (Bryce Wilson), is gay or straight, a question of more concern to the women in Gina's salon than his criminal background. Concern is also raised for Darnelle's (Pulliam) prostitute-like behaviour with a selection of sugar daddies. However, Latifah and Woodruff remain committed to their fable of family fun, and Beauty Shop is on more secure romantic ground when Gina charms the stoic resolve of Joe (Djimon Hounsou), the local electrician who is father-figure to Vanessa and potential partner for Gina. It is not exactly a laugh- a- minute comedy, but there is charm enough to add a smile to the romance.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio of its origin, and 16x9 enhanced, it is hard to fault Beauty Shop's transfer. But that is hardly surprising of a film of a film less than a year old.

    The sharpness is perfect, as is the shadow detail, and the colour is spectacular. I couldn't detect any low level noise or any MPEG artefacts.

    There are no film-to-video artefacts to complain of, with aliasing and telecine wobble kept totally at bay.

    Film artefacts are non-existent, except for a tiny flash of white at 6:51, which I'm pretty sure is not even a speck. It occurs at the top of a pole during a camera move, and is probably only a reflection. A fine-toothed comb might find some blemishes, but I couldn't.

    The subtitles are pretty average, often omitting quite a lot of words to keep up with some of the rapid-fire dialogue.

    Like the rest of the transfer, it is almost impossible to fault the layer change which occurs very quickly and quietly at 66:27, during a scene change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are three audio tracks: the English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kb/s) is the default audio track; there are also Polish and Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) tracks. I only listened to the English.

    There is nothing to complain about with this soundtrack, which is dominated by dialogue and music, and perfectly suits the material. It won't test your speakers, but there is nothing to complain about.

    The dialogue quality is perfectly clear, but occasionally some ghetto-style vernacular flies by too quickly for easy understanding. Usually you would rely on the subtitles to help, but there were a couple of times where they simply ignore some words or phrases. The audio sync is also free of issues.

    The score is credited to Christopher Young, who has provided a benign and predictable score to fill in the gaps between the disco and house music that dominates the soundtrack, as well as a number of tracks written specifically for the film by David Reynolds. It is the music which provides almost all of the surround and subwoofer activity; the rest of the film is dialogue driven.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

 

Menu

    The menu is animated and 16x9 enhanced, accompanied by music and sound effects.

Audio Commentary-Billie Woodruff (Director) - Selected Scenes (18:15)

    This is a disappointing commentary because it is only limited to selected scenes, although it sounds as though it was meant to be a feature length scene specific commentary. There is a menu indicating all the scenes that Woodruff comments on, but if you play the first one, Intro/Opening scene, it will actually play all of them in order. It only amounts to just over 18 minutes. Woodruff offers a lot of information about the actors and the filming locations, and is quite interesting, although he occasionally lapses into silence, falling for the mistake of thinking the listener has not already watched the film.

Featurette: Beauty Shop: Inside the Style (14:23)

    This is your typical promotional making-of found on television before a film is released, mostly comprised of the actors and the director heaping praise upon each other. It is amusing when Woodruff notes that these days actors are often sent to train with stunt people for action sequences, but he sent his actors to train with a professional hairstylist so they would look believable in the beauty salon.

Outtakes (4:59)

    This is an amusing collection of outtakes and goofs on the set, and reveals a funny and ribald side to Queen Latifah. They are present at 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, with 2.0 (192 kb/s) sound.

Theatrical Trailer (2:00)

    An effective and amusing trailer which captures the tone and comedy of the film. It is 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, with 2.0 (192 kb/s) sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Beauty Shop was released in Region 1 in August of 2005, and seems to be identical to our disc, except our disc replaces the French audio for Polish and Hungarian, and our disc also has more subtitle choices. The Region 1 is a dual layered disc and offers a full frame or pan/scan transfer on the second layer. Obviously, that is a waste of space which has the potential to comprise the compression of the widescreen transfer, although most reviews are happy with the image quality. None of these reviews mention the trailer, so it is possible it has been omitted. If you want the 4x3 transfer or the French audio, then go for the Region 1, otherwise you will be better served with the local disc. I'll call it even.

Summary

    Beauty Shop is an amusing and inconsequential romantic comedy, starring Queen Latifah as the sassy owner of a beauty salon.

    The video quality is faultless.

    The audio quality is also faultless, but unspectacular.

    The extras don't amount to much and could have been a lot better. However, with a limited commentary, a featurette, plus outtakes and a trailer, they are okay.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Cohen (read my bio)
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPhilips 860, using RGB output
DisplaySony 76cm FD Trinitron WEGA KV-HX32 M31. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationSherwood
SpeakersSherwood

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