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The annual British Hairdressing Championship comes to Keighley, a town where Phil and son Brian run a barbershop and Phil's ex-wife Shelly and her lover Sandra run a beauty salon. Phil and Shelly haven't talked in ten years, since she bolted; she's just found out her cancer is terminal; and, Ray Roberts, the reigning hairdressing champion, blows into town taunting Phil for retreating from competitive styling into barbering. Roberts also brings his daughter, Christina, who remembers Brian from when she was a little kid. Everything's set: Brian decides to enter the competition with his mom and Sandra; will Phil join in? Ray wants to win at any cost; will Christina go along? Written by
Despite a lot of Big Hair, this is not a big movie. Nonetheless, it is an enjoyable romp, with some affecting performances. There is nothing revelatory or even unpredictable about the story, but it works nicely and certainly entertains. The film does have a few rich moments, but seems mostly a vehicle for a group of talented actors (and it is a highly pedigreed bunch here) to take decent material and put out a fun and sometimes very moving film.
While it may drag a little in the center, don't give up watching for the finale and Rachel Griffiths "total look" finish that is about as outrageous and breathtaking a "total look" as one can possibly imagine. The normally brilliant Alan Rickman here sometimes feels just a little bit on autopilot, American Josh Hartnett is vastly underused, but surprisingly effective in an important role and Natasha Richardson, as ever, positively glows on the screen and raises the emotional and dramatic stakes to a level that makes the whole affair worthwhile.
Not great? Perhaps, but an immensely enjoyable little movie.
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