Beauty Shop was made without the creator of Barbershop, but that didn’t stop Mark Brown from writing and directing his own female-centric spin-off. In The Slaon, Vivica A. Fox stars as Jenny, mother hen to a motley group of haircutters at a salon in an ostensibly scary street in Baltimore where the hookers and gangsters look like Disneyland attractions. For reals, everyone walks into work like some runway diva, including the flamboyant D.D. (De’Angelo Wilson), who gets his own bassline on the film’s relentless soundtrack. This queen throws more shade than Willi Ninja, but when a bunch of thugs start calling him a faggot, he takes their egg-throwing like a little bitch, forgetting to pick up his Kentucky Fried Chicken as he thrashes his way back to the safe haven of Jenny’s salon. Just as Brown understands the barbershop as a locus of male identity, he sees the salon as the center of his characters’ female perspectives. Little hair is cut, weaved, and braided in this place because everyone is too busy talking about white women taking black men away from them, the effects of whopping on young children, the way black straight men are threatened by gay male sexuality, and the mentality of the Oscar nominating committee when they gave an Oscar to Halle Berry (for—and this is the truth, ya’ll—“gettin’ butt naked and screwing Billy Bob Thornton”). The Salon has heart, but it’s completely in the wrong place. This minstrel show’s characters debate with each other as if following some preordained, bullet-pointed program (in short: been there, done better), wearing their emotional baggage like a placard and dishing out trite homilies that sound as if it they were scripted by a wine waiter (“Baby, you really shouldn’t use your body as a commodity,” says Kym Whitley’s sassy Lashaunna to a bling-happy sista). I’ve seen porn with better dialogue and SNL sketches with less amateur production values.
- Codeblack Entertainment
- 92 min
- Mark Brown
- Mark Brown
- Vivica A. Fox, Terrence Howard, Darrin Henson, Kym Whitley, Monica Calhoun, Taral Hicks, Dondre Whitfield, De'Angelo Wilson, Garrett Morris, Brooke Burns, Sheila Cutchlow
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