This comedy begins where “Barber Shop 2” left off. Hair stylist Gina Norris (Queen Latifah) moves from Chicago to Atlanta to give her teenage daughter (Paige Hurd) the best opportunity to follow in her deceased father’s footsteps as a musician. Gina also takes with her an employee (Alicia Silverstone) and a few clients (Andie MacDowell, Mena Suvari) and is quickly employed with Jorge (Kevin Bacon), an effeminate, flamboyant and self-absorbed beauty-shop owner. But with Gina’s management skills and her home-made hair conditioner, she strikes out on her own and takes an inner-city beauty shop from rundown to upscale and trendy. Joe (Djimon Hounsou), who lives above the salon, seems out of place with his charm, culture and chivalry amidst the edgy, street-smart clients and neighbors of Gina’s beauty shop. The evolution of Gina’s new business is the source of many funny moments.
There is a strong positive message in “Beauty Shop.” Gina Norris makes her daughter’s upbringing and education a top priority so that Vanessa will be raised to be confident and successful. Gina invests tremendous effort, not only in building her business, but also in developing her workers including the white shampoo girl she hires away from Jorge’s shop. But there is also a strong negative message in this movie. Willie (Lil JJ), a boy about Vanessa’s age, has learned to be a booty chaser and a smooth talker. “Beauty Shop” portrays women as sexual objects to entice men, and men as hunky flesh to attract women. Due to the pervasive emphasis on sexuality and the overtly colorful, offensive language, including a plethora of remarks about male homosexuality in the beauty industry, Dove cannot award the Dove Seal to “Beauty Shop.”