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"Barbershop"

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

Folks-- 

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 deal with!

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 something.

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 “Exit 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.

Rating:  Matinee

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

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 "Office Space"). 

"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 half stars." 

"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 Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09