Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

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Movie review

Shear laughter

Published April 4, 2005

MOVIE: Beauty Shop

RATING: PG-13 for sexual material, language and brief drug references

SUMMARY: Gina (Queen Latifah) has moved from the barbershop in Chicago to a beauty salon in Atlanta. She is a talented hair stylist who has always wanted to open her own shop. So when her boss, Jorge (Kevin Bacon), the overly vain owner of a chic Atlanta salon, pushes her one step too far, she sees it as the perfect opportunity to chase her dream. With the help of a small loan, she buys and renovates a run-down barbershop and begins her own business. At the same time, she is raising her daughter, who is attending an expensive private music school, and she is trying to nurture a relationship with the tenant who lives above the shop. Doing all of that and trying to run a successful business is proving to be a daunting task.

MY VIEW: One might be led to think that a female-driven version of Barbershop would be much cleaner and generally more appropriate than its male counterpart. Well, that is an invalid assumption. Many of the scenes are absolutely hilarious, but just as many are carbon copies of scenes found in Barbershop - vulgarity and all. This film targets and satirizes nearly every group imaginable, which will likely offend those who are not tolerant of such humor. Laughter is pretty much the saving grace here; the cookie-cutter plot is nothing special. Queen Latifah is also a plus. She exudes a general likability, and her appeal seems to be pretty universal. Being a jazz musician, I was also quite amused by the subtle nod to legendary tenor saxophonist John Coltrane.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Teenagers in search of solid laughter will easily find it here. Don't let the title fool you, though; heed the rating.


Billy Norris, 17, is in 11th grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

[Last modified April 1, 2005, 12:22:04]

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