Starring: Alan Rickman, Natasha Richardson, Bill Nighy
Director: Paddy Breathnach
Running Time: 86 mins
Blow Dry is a British film about the 2000 edition of the British Hairdresser’s Championships, which overruns the unassuming Yorkshire town of Keighley with the arrival of glitzy and glamorous competitors.
I was rather disappointed by this film. The kind of reverse fish out of water story that Blow Dry throws up – a Yorkshire town being overrun by flamboyant hairdressers – is always a perfect recipe for hilarity, but the movie follows a rather generic path, missing the mark for something a little more lively.
Let’s start on the plus side, however, with the fact that there are still a couple of good laughs here and there in Blow Dry. It’s not wall-to-wall hilarity, but there are a handful of moments where the conflict between the reserved people of Keighley and the exuberant hairdressing contestants do strike up a laugh or two.
The problem, however, is that those laughs are a little too few and far between, as Blow Dry aims to tell a story with a little more dramatic depth than purely silly comedy, in the vein of the likes of The Full Monty or Brassed Off.
Both of those films are British classics for a good reason, as they take the down-to-earth essence of living in the North of England and put characters completely out of their comfort zones, opening up completely new ideas and emotions that they may never have encountered before.
The problem with Blow Dry, however, is that the emotional drama which the film counts on is already there at the start, and there really isn’t much growth in any of the characters over the course of the story. Where the men of The Full Monty see their relationship evolve dramatically as their dance troupe improves and improves, the characters of Blow Dry are more or less in the same place at the end of the movie that they were at the beginning.
What does change is rather more superficial, and comes about too late in the story, and only as a result of the hairdressing competition, rather than as a result of genuine change or will on the part of the characters beyond the antics of the contest in town.
It’s a real shame, because Blow Dry could have been just as zany, just as funny and just as emotionally captivating as the likes of The Full Monty or Brassed Off. However, it’s a disappointingly bland film that really misses the mark on what makes the films it’s trying to emulate great. So, that’s why I’m giving Blow Dry a 6.2 overall.