Directed by Tim Story.
Written by Mark Brown, Don D. Scott, and Marshall Todd.
Starring Ice Cube, Anthony Anderson and Cedric the Entertainer.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 10/16/02
I was excited to see this when it opened,
but alas, it opened in September, so I had to wait! Was it worth
it? Yes and no.
See, the thing about “Barbershop” is
that...it just feels really sanitized. Ice Cube produced and stars
in the film as Calvin, the son of a Chicago barber that inherited
Dad’s shop two years prior and is desperately trying to offload the
shop to recover the debt on the shop property. On the day that he
sells the shop to a local scumbag (Keith David, great once again),
he realizes what the shop means to the community and tries to buy it
back. Along the way, he’s got heads to cut and co-workers to keep
in line, a pregnant wife at home and some bad Chicago weather to
When “Barbershop” is in the shop, the movie
is good times. It is funny, and it just feels like everyone is
hangin’ out. This is easy to do with the talent that Ice Cube
brought on here—Sean Patrick Thomas (“Save the Last Dance”), rapper
Eve, Michael Ealy (as Ricky) and of course, Cedric the Entertainer,
who makes every scene he is in great and his use of the f-word is
one of the great f-word scenes of the year. The interplay between
the barbers is classic ghetto barbershop and even though the
characters are pretty stereotyped (the white guy, the educated guy,
the foreigner, the old-school guy, the thug, the girl), the dialogue
in the shop works.
My thing with that conversation, though, was
that there just wasn’t enough profanity. I know this sounds
strange, but bear with me here. If you have been to a black shop
before, man, the cursing sometimes over the arguments in these
places is over-the-top. Plus, you have ICE CUBE, EVE and CEDRIC THE
ENTERTAINER standing in there, and you just expect them to start
breaking out stories loaded with profanity. But, for the most part,
it never comes...and so, the arguments are sometimes political,
sometimes biological...and, it just felt like they were shooting for
a TV version of a barbershop the whole time, not a film version.
Director Tim Story does a great job with what he has, but I just sat
there the whole time waiting for one of the guys to ask Cedric’s
character about women and for him to go off about getting laid or
That part of the movie is pretty good
though, $9.00 Show-good. But, for whatever reason, the writers of
“Barbershop” couldn’t figure out any other way to loop in the
movie’s opening scene than to have periodical interludes with a
bumbling two-man robbery team led by JD (Anthony Anderson, the big
black dude from, ahem, action classics
“Romeo Must Die” and
Wounds”). Save for a couple of moments when Anderson is screaming
in pain over dropping a stolen ATM on his foot or fingers, his
scenes all totally, totally blow. I found them so unfunny that I
thought about hurling my jacket at the projector to cover up the
atrocity that was his scenes every time they came on. Totally
shitty, and worse, they take up about a quarter of the film.
Overall, “Barbershop” does a decent number
of things right, but the best thing the producers could have done
was to have a two-hour movie take place just inside a barbershop
with Cedric the Entertainer talking about Jesse Jackson. Man, that
Cedric guy is funny.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard