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The Big Tease

This much is true: Armed with clippers, combs and countless cans of mousse, hairdressers the world over really do gather in major cities to compete in styling contests known as "hair-offs." The rest of Scottish-director Kevin (TWIN TOWN) Allen's giddy mockumentary is somewhat less factual, but nevertheless contains more ugly truths about the beauty business and our image-obsessed culture than most of us would care to admit. Convinced he's been hand-picked to compete against the world's top hair designers in L.A.'s elite World Freestyle Hairdressing Competition, starry-eyed Scot Crawford Mackenzie (Craig Ferguson, of The Drew Carey Show fame) packs his bags, kisses his mum and boyfriend goodbye, and, with a BBC film crew in tow, leaves Glasgow for the land of tonsorial glory — California. But no sooner does he max-out his credit card at the Century Plaza than Crawford learns that a dreadful mistake has been made: He was only asked to be part of the audience, not the competition. With little more than a blow dryer and a dream — and, of course, a high-powered personal publicist named Candy (Frances Fischer, who's perfect) — Crawford decides he won't return to Glasgow a never-ran, or let himself by upstaged by the likes of celebrity super-stylist Stig Ludwiggssen (David Rasche), a three-time WFHC champion who'll stop at nothing to hold onto hairstyling's bejewelled Holy Grail, the Platinum Shears. Okay, it's all pretty silly, and the pseudo-documentary format is unnecessary and soon dispensed with. But the film's potshots are perfectly aimed and Ferguson plays it all with so much heart you'll find yourself seriously rooting for a spiky-haired Scotsman in a skin-tight, three-piece tartan suit. Cameos include supermodel Veronica Webb, Drew Carey (in one helluva hairpiece) and David Hasselhoff, who, it seems, is revered as a god in Scotland. Fierce, baby.