Director: Bille Woodruff. With Queen Latifah, Alicia Silverstone, Alfre Woodard. (105 min.)
"Beauty Shop" isn't just a spin-off of "Barbershop," it's practically a Xerox - and a faded, third-generation copy at that. Gina (Latifah), a sassy and talented hairdresser from "Barbershop 2," opens her own hair salon in Atlanta. Sporting an Austrian accent and a pair of Ugg boots, Kevin Bacon plays Jorge Christophe, a flamboyant rival stylist who tries to shut Gina down. Unfortunately for him, she knows how to wield a flatiron. The comedy is gentle, if not exactly genteel, as the hairstylists sound off on everything from misogyny in hip-hop to topics ribald enough to make Howard Stern blush.
Extras include a perfunctory promo featurette that details how the cast learned to cut hair in an actual salon. The blooper reel should have been left on the cutting floor alongside the discarded locks of hair. Grade: C
- Stephen Humphries
Director: Amy Schatz.
Some child-rearing experts say children under 2 should not watch TV, but the adorable "Classical Baby" may be an honorable exception. Made by the same team that produced "Goodnight Moon," the three-disc series is no "Teletubbies" or noxious cartoon. It's a serene, flowing work of animated art that celebrates the parent-child bond just as it celebrates works of visual art, dance, and music (including the classical masters as well as ageless jazz). The joyful set has the character of happy dreams and crib mobiles. And here's a thought: the films will certainly delight tykes over 2 - and their families as well. (Available Aug. 30) Grade: A
- M.S. Mason
Director: Nigel Cole. With Ashton Kutcher, Amanda Peet, Ali Larter. (107 min.)
Within minutes of spotting Oliver (Kutcher) boarding a flight, fellow passenger Emily (Peet) targets him for what the DVD cover euphemistically calls a chance encounter. Over the next eight years, the two keep bumping into each other but can't quite bring themselves to commit, despite their mutual attraction. Pity that this lackluster plot doesn't have a formula to match the natural chemistry of its two leads.
Special features include a blooper reel that's worth a look (but don't expect any "Punk'd" style pranks) as well as a music video for Aqualung's sonorous ballad, "Brighter than Sunshine." Grade: C