All because Chris Rock, who narrates and does the interviewing here, was shocked when his little girl asked him, "Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?"
Poet Maya Angelou marvels that "a woman's hair is her glory," before confessing that she, too, has embraced relaxers. Actresses Nia Long and Meagan Good and singers Eve and Pepa detail what they go through to get weaves, and the sort of commitment having those commands from a man. "High maintenance" doesn't cover it.
"Our self-esteem is wrapped up in it," the naturally curly Tracie Thoms (Grindhouse) gripes.
Rock riffs with Indians going to a temple to have their heads shaved and with black women of every physical description, who want hair that they can toss "Farrah Fawcett style."
Rock alternates from amused to amazed, hanging with longtime hair-relaxer Rev. Al Sharpton, visiting the vast black-owned and operated Dudley Products hair care empire in North Carolina, watching a chemist melt a soft drink can with sodium hydroxide.
The film (directed by Jeff Stilson) goes off track when it gets caught up in a dippy Atlanta hair-styling competition that is more about putting on a flamboyant show and entertaining your fellow hair dressers than styling hair. This contest gives the movie an artificial "big game" framework that distracts from the message Rock is trying to put over -- that this "Farrah" hair obsession, sexy as it can be when it's Tyra or Beyonce tossing her weave, is a new form of slavery and self-exploitation. Rock has long been the king of comics willing to speak black truth to black people. He seems to pull his punches here. Long, in several comically confessional moments, makes his points for him. Scattered as it sometimes seems, Good Hair is a real eye-opener, both for people who may not realize just what they're spending and what they're doing to their scalps, and to anyone of any race still not comfortable asking, straight out, "Say, how DO you get your hair to do that?" The real head-scratcher here is the follow-up question: "Why?"
Roger Moore can be reached at 407-420-5369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good Hair Three of five stars Cast: Chris Rock, Nia Long, Meagan Good, Eve, Ice-T, Maya Angelou, Al Sharpton Director: Jeff Stilson Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes. Industry rating: PG-13 for some language including sex and drug references, and brief partial nudity.