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The annual British Hairdressing Championship comes to Keighley, a town where Phil and son Brian run a barbershop, and where Phil's ex-wife Shelly and her lover Sandra run a beauty salon, yet Phil and Shelly haven't talked in the ten years since she bolted. Shelley's just found out her cancer is terminal, and Ray Roberts, the reigning underhanded 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 (as does he her). Everything's set: Brian decides to enter the competition with his mom and Sandra. Will Phil join in? Ray wants to win at any costs. Will Christina go along? Written by
I'm A Wonderful Thing Baby
Written by Kid Creole (as Darnell) / Schott
Published by 1982 Zem Sounds / Schott in the Dark Music / Adalee Music
Performed by Kid Creole and The Coconuts
(p) 1982 Puddle Records Inc.
Produced under license from Warner Bros Records Inc. See more »
Uplifting, complex, nuanced, unexpected and fresh.
Blow Dry is one of those loopy, quirky British comedies that continue to scream to the deaf ears of Hollywood that humor doesn't have to be infantile, vulgar, sexual, physical, heavy-handed, or banal. It can be uplifting, complex, nuanced, unexpected and fresh.
A small town in England hosts the National Hairdressing Championships, (Do you really think they have one?) and nobody seems too excited about it except a few ruthless competitors to whom winning means absolutely everything. Local boy Alan Rickman, a has been hair wizard now doing "short back and sides" for 7.50 is convinced to enter the competition by his son, his ex-wife and her girlfriend.
Natasha Richardson (daughter of the incomparable Vanessa Redgrave) is brilliant as the terminally ill lesbian mother trying to use the event as a way to reunite her family. Her comedy and her pathos are equally moving, and her beauty isn't spoiled by chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Rachel Griffiths, whom you may remember from the hilarious Australian comedy Muriel's Wedding, is the model who left Rickman for his wife on the eve of his triumph in hairdressing, hence his present low state. Either of these ladies could have carried the movie. To have both of them is a treat of excess.
Rickman is more believable as a barber than a high style hairdresser. Still, he pulls it off because he's Rickman. Much has been made of Josh Hartnett and his murderous accent. In reality, it's hardly noticeable. Get over it.
Bill Nighy is fantastic as the unscrupulous London artiste pulling out all the stops to win the Championship for an unprecedented third time, using his daughter, the insanely beautiful Rachel Leigh Cook, as his model. Rosemary Harris, the perfectly cast Aunt Mae of Spider-man fame, is powerful as the elderly Daisy, confidante and model for Richardson and her team.
The unseen treasure of this movie, and the genius behind it, is writer Simon Beaufoy. Beaufoy grew up in Keighley, the setting of Blow Dry. Until more recently he was probably best known for also writing the hilarious and inspired The Full Monty. As he developed as a writer, he later gave us the Oscar nominated 127 Hours, and Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire.
There is a scene, at the very end, when Rickman reveals his ultimate creation, that has to be seen to be believed. I still gasp every time I see it, and it reinforces for me a notion of beauty that transcends everything from age to gender. And don't miss the end credit sequence. It's hilarious.
Too many movie viewers think being cynical makes them appear more intelligent or more profound, so they slam gems like this for their lighthearted humor. Nonsense. This is a funny 10 out of 10, and if you don't own it, log off right now and go get it. You won't be sorry.
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