That's why Chris Rock's 'Good Hair' is a welcome relief from your average doomsday doc. Ever since Rock's young daughter innocently asked him, "Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?," the comedian set out to investigate the phenomenon of the African-American hair experience. By and large, documentaries are supposed to make you stroke your chin and ponder the world's weightier issues, like the Health Care Crisis, the Financial Crisis, the Hurricane Katrina Crisis ... Heck, someone should do one about the Crisis Crisis. We obviously have enough material.
That's why Chris Rock's 'Good Hair' is a welcome relief from your average doomsday doc. Ever since Rock's young daughter innocently asked him, "Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?," the comedian set out to investigate the phenomenon of the African-American hair experience.
Since the name 'Roots' has already been used, we have 'Good Hair,' an uproarious look at the weaves, processes, and pains black women have endured in trying to harness their nappy locks.
The film does its investigative work, visiting salons and laboratories, looking into the vast industry that harvests and sells Indian and Korean hair, and showing us a few jaw-dropping cases where women spend up to $18,000 annually on their 'dos.
The question is, can a film this ethnocentric cross enough racial and social lines to approach the box office numbers of Michael Moore, the gold standard in successful documentary filmmaking?
Yes, it can.
Now, I'm a bald white guy. So what do I know, you may ask? Well, first off, in my early days straight hair was the look for guys, not the curly Irish thing I had going on. So I got busy with the blow dryer more than I care to admit. Secondly, I have seen up close how vital a good haircut is to women -- my wife once refused to leave the house for three weeks after a salon disaster.
Third, I know that if Chris Rock can't make you laugh, then you have a nervous disorder. And Rock has called in some serious star power, with folks like Maya Angelou, Raven-Symone, Nia Long, Kerry Washington, Ice-T, and many more telling their hirsute horror stories.
But if humor and famous faces aren't enough to generate some box-office, then how about this for a teaser? This film may solve a 'Da Vinci Code'-sized mystery: how the Rev. Al Sharpton makes his hair do that. That alone may make 'Good Hair' the detective story of the year.