review for Blow Dry on AllMovie

Blow Dry (2000)
by Brian J. Dillard review

Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy revisits his perennial small-town, working-class themes in this British comedy, but the tone here is closer to the feel-good boosterism of The Full Monty than the subtler, more nuanced treatment he offered in his script for Among Giants. Even worse, Blow Dry suffers from every writing flaw known to man, from inept dialogue and stock characters to uneven pacing and a thoroughly predictable plot. This is the sort of film where a character anxiously smoking a cigarette and looking at her watch is never enough; she also has to purse her lips and mutter to herself, "Come on...don't let me down." The marketing for Blow Dry's American video release centered on likable hot young things Josh Hartnett and Rachael Leigh Cook, but their characters would have seemed stock even if they'd been bit players at a party scene in a John Hughes movie; they hardly carry the movie. Neither do likable leading ladies Natasha Richardson and Rachel Griffiths, the former out of her glamorous element as a working-class cancer patient with a heart of gold, the latter saddled with a less imaginative variation on the best-friend role she's played in several other films. In fact, the most fun in Blow Dry comes from watching the multitude of colorful stylists and the outlandish coiffures they unleash on the world. A slick Hollywood treatment would have combed through the dialogue and puffed up the production design, lending this flat tangle at least some volume and hold, but as is, Blow Dry is nothing but split ends and dandruff.