Blow Dry (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna
comments in white:
This is one odd movie from the official quirky small-town Britain formula. (Same author as The Full Monty)
Imagine if Christopher Guest, Ingmar Bergman, and Disney made a joint project. What would it be like?
There you have it. A tongue-in-cheek portrayal of a silly competition, treated as seriously as if it were the Olympics. Despite the silly premise, there is an undercurrent of very serious issues being faced by very serious people. The local hairdresser's wife ran away with his female model many years ago, abandoning him and her son. Now she has returned to ask him and their son to join her and her lesbian lover as a hairdressing team in the competition. Her objective is to bring them all together. She needs this reconciliation to tie up the loose ends, because she is near the end of her battle with cancer.
The dad won't do it at first, then he softens, then he finally comes back at the end for the triumphal fourth round of the tourney, and leads their team to victory. They treat this competition with the same straight face and the same presentation that would attend the championship game in Hoosiers, or the fight in Rocky, or the race in Chariots of Fire. The hairdressers have a lot of glitz, of course, but all the sporting cliches are brought right over without comment. The dad "used to be the best" hairdresser in the world, but hasn't competed in years, the judges hold up their little 9.9 scores for various haircuts, and the team from Keighley, the town which also hosts the pageant, defeats all the super-power teams from London and elsewhere.
|When I read the
description of this movie, I thought to myself what you are probably
thinking now, "what a crock", and dreaded having to watch
it. I was partially wrong. While it does have some serious groaner
moments, I have to admit that the film approached the concept with
such earnestness that it sucked me in and I enjoyed it for the most
part. Where else but the UK would they make a film with such a flimsy
premise, its only promise being satire, then eschew the satire for
warmth, then hire such great people to act in it and bring honesty
into it? Odd stuff. (Alan Rickman, Natasha Richardson, and Rachel
Griffiths head the cast. They don't try for humor. They simply play
the characters straight, and manage to make it work fairly well.)
I can't believe I'm saying this, but I kinda liked this sappy, woefully unhip movie, although it isn't as funny or as original as it might have been, given the over-the-top premise that ultimately was wasted.
comments in yellow
Blow Dry (2001) is about the 2000 National British Hairdressing Championships, and more particularly, about the home town favorites where it is being hosted -- Keighley, in Northern England. Seems the favorite, Ray (Bill Nighy) will do anything to win for the third straight year including cheating, and only fears that Phil (Alan Rickman), who lives in Keighley and owns a barber shop, will enter the competition. Seems Phil was the best there was, and was ready to win his third straight competition when his wife, Shelly (Natasha Richardson) ran off with his model Sandra (Rachel Griffiths) the night before the competition. Even though Phil and his son live within shouting distance of Shelly and Sandra, they haven't spoken in 10 years. The son, Brian (Josh Hartnett) is now cutting hair in his fathers shop, and wants to enter the competition to put Ray in his place. Shelly also wants to enter the competition for reasons of her own. She has cancer, and wants the four of them to get back together before her death.
|Griffiths wears body paint and wings and nothing else in the final event of the competition, and Heidi Klum as another model wears some skimpy undies. I enjoyed this, although it might have been that I was in the mood for unchallenging entertainment. The plot is fairly predictable, and the film is mostly low key, but most of the jokes work, and the idea of hairdressers dueling nearly to the death for the "Silver Scissors" trophy struck me funny all by itself.|
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