Summing up the mixed intentions of the movie is its anchor, the Bronner Bros. Competition, an annual hairstyling event which has about as much to do with hairstyling as the Winter Olympics. It’s all about outsized personalities and elaborate stage productions; one competitor hangs upside down and cuts hair, another cuts hair underwater. It’s extremely ridiculous, and is a bit at odds with the movie’s more sociological side, especially since Rock never really lampoons the competition or those involved. No matter how funny or entertaining it is, the movie is ultimately going to end up feeling slight. But it is funny and entertaining.
The main laughs of course come from Rock himself, tame or not, and his interactions with average black men and women. Women on modest budgets spend up to $1,000 to get their hair relaxed. One woman flies across several states to be treated by a certain stylist. There’s a hilarious candid chat at a barbershop which reveals that hair plays a far more crucial part in the politics of black dating than I ever could have thought possible. And Rock, no matter where he is or who he’s talking to, always seems open to others' thoughts and opinions, creating a comfortable atmosphere, even if he sometimes lacks focus.
At the end, Rock comes to the conclusion that the mere fact that black women can choose to do whatever they wish with their hair represents social progress, a point which I guess can’t be argued with. But after all I’d learned, I was just thinking, “Really?”