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Blow Dry

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Blow Dry

Starring: Natasha Richardson, Alan Rickman
Director: Paddy Breathnach
Rated: R
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: March 2001
Genres: Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Hugh Bonneville, Rachael Leigh Cook, Rachel Griffiths, Josh Hartnett, Peter McDonald, Bill Nighy, Michael McElhatton, Heidi Klum

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

BLOW DRY, which the ads loudly proclaim to be by the writer of THE FULL MONTY, has all the charm of a fifth generation copy of a tape of THE FULL MONTY, which is what it feels like. Writer Simon Beaufoy recycles all of the elements of the plot that hit the jackpot for him last time. The story is set in a cheesy working-class English town. There's a tragedy to be coped with -- this time it's cancer rather than unemployment. And, of course, he ends it in one of his signature surprises. It's too bad that this time he forgot to make it funny. To be fair, much of the blame has to go to director Paddy Breathnach, who wasn't associated with THE FULL MONTY or anything else you've ever heard of before BLOW DRY.

Set in Keighley, England, the movie is about the National Hairdressing Championship, a veritable hair Olympics. The cocksure Ray Roberts (Bill Nighy) and his assistant Louis (Hugh Bonneville) are competing for their third straight title. Cheating his way to the top again, Ray fears only local barber Phil Allen (Alan Rickman) and his assistant, Phil's son Brian (Josh Hartnett). Phil quit the hairdressing competition 10 years ago when his wife, Shelley (Natasha Richardson) left him to live with Sandra (Rachel Griffiths), his hairdressing model. The script does little with this lesbian subtheme other than introduce it.

Brian makes extra money by working the graveyard shift, cutting hair at the local mortuary. Brian takes Ray's daughter and model, Christina (Rachael Leigh Cook), there one night on a date. Although the movie's cast is good, their acting isn't much more lively than the corpses lying around waiting to have their hair done. Actually, the whole movie is about as dead as these stiffs. I didn't think Alan Rickman (GALAXY QUEST) could give a performance this lifeless, but director Breathnach does the impossible, turning the living into the dead. Maybe he has a future in horror flicks.

BLOW DRY runs 1:45. It is rated R for some language and brief nudity and would be acceptable for most teenagers.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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