‘The Salon’


What makes a beauty shop so great is that it really is a microcosm of society,” intones an earnest voiceover at the beginning of The Salon. Indeed. The denizens of this eponymous inner-city beauty shop, helmed by Vivica A. Fox, are a panoply of multicultural stereotypes, from a fat black woman who scarfs doughnuts, to a flamboyant (but secretly insecure!) gay man, to a Chinese manicurist whose mispronunciation of the word “election” is just hilarious. Most cringe-inducing of all is the token white chick who insists on initiating a discussion about spanking, “or whoopin’, as you guys call it.” Or maybe it’s the “‘hos” who are sporadically chased across the screen by their pimp. (Where’s Al Sharpton’s decency parade when you need it?) OK, no, I think it’s definitely the bug-eyed homeless guy who prances around outside the salon, cackling wildly and mumbling in gibberish. You get the idea. Only a heady cocktail of apathy and boredom could explain so many gratuitous girlfriends and sistas. Writer-director Mark Brown, he of the Barbershop franchise, also has an inexplicable fondness for close-ups that cut off the tops of the actors’ heads—unfortunate in a movie about hair.