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Blow Dry
2 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Paddy Breathnach

Written By:
Simon Beaufoy

Alan Rickman, Natasha Richardson, Rachel Griffiths, Rachael Leigh Cook, Josh Hartnett, Bill Nighy, Warren Clarke, Rosemary Harris, Hugh Bonneville, Peter McDonald, Michael McElhatton, David Bradley, Heidi Klum, Ben Crompton, Ann Rye

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Blow Dry (2001)
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Movie Review by Zara
April 28th, 2009

There's something more gentle and light humoured about British comedies when they approach problems between family members or dealing with the topic of cancer. Americans either turn cancer issues into something overly dramatic (sometimes for good reason, most other times needlessly dour) or into caustic comedy. I'm not entirely against a caustic comedy about a deadly disease, but there's something so refreshing about watching one where everyone looks around, says "this sucks" and then makes the best of it with little bitter commentary.

At the heart of BLOW DRY, there is a cancer story, with the recently deceased Natasha Richardson glowing at the center of it. She was formerly a hair cutting champion alongside her husband (played with his usual dry, mesmerizing charm by Alan Rickman) before eloping with their hair model, a flaky but good-hearted and well-intentioned woman played just as well by Rachel Griffiths. When she finds out that her cancer has become incurable, instead of dwelling or even disclosing it with her girlfriend, she turns to her ex-husband and their grown son (played with a damn good accent by Josh Hartnett) to help win the British Hairstylist Competition when it comes to their small town.

The movie takes what was so cartoonish in movies like BARBER SHOP and BEAUTY SHOP and makes hair live and breathe during the individual events, from women's blow-dry to men's haircut and style to the "total look" which involves elaborate costuming and make-up and makes it just plain, simple fun. There are some elaborate moments where the competition is plotted to be fixed by the delightfully fun bad guy, Bill Nighy and there's a great small role with Heidi Klum as the disastrous wife of a pair of hair cutting brothers that she is cheating on one to be with another.

The only disappointment is in adding Rachael Leigh Cook to the mix as Nighy's estranged daughter who comes back from the states to help her father in the competition and has a mild affair with Hartnett, the two remembering one another from when they were children and their parents competed against one another. This isn't really necessary but it doesn't wholly detract from what is otherwise a fun comedy to watch and a good moral lesson to learn about getting past your past to hold onto your present and worry less about your future.

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