Published Mar 01, 2001The small town of Keighley, England is invaded by hair-stylists ready for intense competition as the small Yorkshire town hosts the British Hairdressing Championships. The unsuspecting locals have to do battle with the extravagant models and snooty hair-sculptors while the local salon and barber shop (each owned by a separated mother and father) try to make it through the competition as not only a team but a true family. "Blow Dry" was inked by the same writers that produced "The Full Monty," and even though this film has some of the same ingredients as their previous effort, it still seems to fall short of expectations.
"Blow Dry" has some terrific actors to play with including Alan Rickman as Phil, the has-been champion hairdresser who now runs a local barber shop with his son Brian, played by Josh Harnett ("The Virgin Suicides") sporting a dreadful accent. Natasha Richardson plays the role of Phil's ex-wife Shelley, who left him and Brian to run away with her female lover, with whom she now tends a salon. When they were together, Phil and Shelley were a great team, succeeding in capturing the elusive Silver Scissors. As the championship rolls into town, Shelley convinces Phil to settle their differences and join her in trying to rekindle their magic through cutting and styling hair.
Throw in Rachel Leigh Cook as Brian's love interest and a slew of talented supporting actors in the form of town locals and "Blow Dry" seems to have enough talent to create a wonderful and charming film. Yet we never seem to fall too hard for the characters and feel their hardships and triumphs the way "Blow Dry" intends. There are definitely many delightful and touching moments and well as witty quips to boot, but the overall package seems flat in the end. The Hairdressing Championship scenes tend to come across as cheesy, maybe to poke fun at the industry, but why should the main passion of these characters be so hokey? "The Full Monty" succeeded in making something as simple as getting your kit off entertaining, yet "Blow Dry" fails to develop characters we can care for and ends up leaving a rather predictable plot. Still, the finished product is miles above what many American movies are attempting these days.