Queen Latifah reprises her role as Gina, who audiences first met in the 2004 sequel to BARBERSHOP. This time she's the owner of her own beauty shop. A widow and single mum, Gina has moved from Chicago to Atlanta so that her daughter Vanessa (the charming Paige Hurd), a piano prodigy, can attend a performing arts school. Mother-in law Paulette (Laura Hayes) and sister-in-law Darnelle (Keisha Knight Pulliam, who played Rudy on THE COSBY SHOW) live with them. The bills are paid by Gina's job at Jorge's (Kevin Bacon) high-end salon, but his obnoxious personality ultimately proves insufferable. Gina quits her job and decides to get a place of her own, securing a loan with some resourceful tactics. Situated squarely in the ghetto and featuring a revolving cast of eccentric characters, the shop's quirky employees provide a constant stream of witty banter. Meanwhile the electrician who lives upstairs (Djimon Hounsou, AMISTAD) slowly wins Gina's heart. Despite challenges, Gina maintains grace, humour, and a magnanimous air that sees her through everything. The ensemble cast of this feel-good comedy at times eclipses its good-natured star, who functions as a den mother to the madness. Andi MacDowell and Mena Suvari play wealthy Atlanta socialites who defect to Gina's shop, while Gospel legend Della Reese also makes an appearance. Bryce Wilson's turn as an ex-convict stylist of questionable sexual orientation provides humour at his expense, while Alicia Silverstone's bumbling black-girl wanna-be is so charming that we forgive her fake accent. Building upon the success of the BARBERSHOP franchise, BEAUTY SHOP holds its own both in its comedic acuity, and in its inspirational story of an underdog who comes out on top through force of will and strength of spirit.
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