Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nora's Hair Salon 2: A Cut Above DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Sorry Sequel Offends at Every Turn

Who decided that every African-American comedy has to revolve either around a black man in drag, or else around a barbershop or beauty salon? This sorry sequel is of the latter variety, and is just the latest in a long line which includes Barbershop 1 and 2, Beauty Shop, Hair Show, Nora's Hair Salon and the upcoming Miss B’s Hair Salon.
These ghetto-based sitcoms share a familiar storyline, a love story unfolding against the backdrop of an ensemble cast of colorful caricatures. The clownish genre has its roots in Amos ‘n’ Andy, a show which debuted on radio in 1928 and eventually made the jump to television as the first series featuring a black cast. The TV series was grounded by the tempestuous romantic relationship of unemployed and gullible Andy and feisty Queen, a Harlem beautician. But the real reason everybody tuned in was to laugh at the program’s motley collection of lazy, loud and crooked black characters.
One of the first things I noticed about the cover of Nora’s Hair Salon 2 is that it’s promoted by an outfit called BlackChristianMovies.com, ostensibly to con folks into believing that the DVD contains clean and wholesome family entertainment. Yet the dialogue is sprinkled with both the b and s-words, and often treats not only blacks but Asians and gays in a decidedly backwards and un-Christian manner.
Given the recent release of the documentary Hollywood Chinese, I had hoped that we’d be past presenting members of this ethnic group speaking pidgin English and mixing their ‘l’s and ‘r’s. Homosexuals fare no better, as we’re treated to the same flamboyant, effeminate stereotype that’s been around for time immemorial.
The plot concerns itself with the tug-of-war between co-owners Lilliana (Tatyan Ali) and Simone (Stacey Dash) over whether to stay in business. The former is a single-mom sorely in need of a nice guy, preferably a doctor (Mekhi Phifer) to fall head over heels for her. Simone is a selfish shrew you just love to hate. Not to worry, it all unfolds as expected.
The question you need to ask yourself is whether you want to watch a bunch of sassy sisters playing the dozens insulting everyone within earshot for an hour and a half.

Poor (½ star)
Rated PG-13 for profanity and sexual humor.
Running time: 81 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

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