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Barbershop
2002 - PG-13 - 102 Mins.
Director: Tim Story
Producer: Mark Brown, George Tillman Jr.
Written By: Mark Brown
Starring: Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Eve, Sean Patrick Thomas, Keith David, Anthony Anderson, Troy Garity, Michael Ealy
Review by: Carl Langley
   

The barbershop gang
Barbershop tells a story about realizing what is most important for a community. The trials of greed and selfishness are the obstacles in this culturally biased film, which is so heavy on the racist and sexist jokes, the comedy raised many eyebrows and stirred many uprisings.

There is a barbershop that kind of plays like a talk show. Everybody is free to speak his or her mind. In the film, Cedric the Entertainer plays an aged man named Eddie, who hangs out for the conversation and fellowship. It is stated he is employed there, but we never actually witness him cutting any hair. He just mans his station, eats his barbecue ribs, and barges in his opinion whenever he feels the need to (needless to say, this is for every topic that is brought up throughout the film).

The commotion derives from the racial attacks Eddie makes against such prominent historical figures as Rodney King and Rosa Parks. “There are three things black people need to tell the truth about,” Eddie fervently states and on his third point: “Rosa Parks didn’t do nothing but sit her black ass down.” A black man criticizing his own kind. People lashed out at Cedric for his remarks, to which he calmly and unworriedly replied to keep in mind that he was portraying a character. His voice does not speak for himself in this film but rather for the caricature he embodied. Either way, the dialogue was a gutsy move.

Take notice at Jimmy’s (Sean Patrick Thomas) response: “Eddie, not only is what you're saying not true, it is wrong and disrespectful for you to discuss Rosa Parks in that way.” Eddie claims, “Wait, hold on here. Is this a barbershop? Is this a barbershop? If we can't talk straight in a barbershop, then where can we talk straight? We can't talk straight nowhere else. You know, this ain't nothin' but healthy conversation, that's all.” And he is right. That kind of describes Barbershop perfectly - one big healthy conversation the embraces many different views.

Written by Mark Brown, Barbershop asks you to accept these characters for who they are, tasteless or not. I laughed at Eddie’s slurs on O.J. Simpson, King, etc. because of his manner and the reaction he received on screen. That I corresponded with Brown’s characters is what made it most enjoyable, graceful, and worthy of recommendation. They may not all be loveable in their moralistic ways, but they sure do bring down the house with laughter.

Ice Cube, who usually becomes really involved in his films (here he contributes to the soundtrack), plays Calvin, the owner of the barbershop. The shop lives off the reputation his father gave it, and now Calvin runs the place sort of as a favor to his father. It provides him the essentials, yet it is holding him back from his real dream: becoming a music producer. Since this burden has wrinkled his dream, he decides to sell the shop to a sleazy loan shark (Keith David). Then one day, he realizes his mistake and that his life needs no construction. The barbershop, his employers, and the Chicago community are his home. When he tries to purchase the store back, the price has doubled and it appears the barbershop full of nostalgia has finally closed.

There are some subplots thrown in, some more enjoyable than others - such as two incompetent hoodlums stealing an ATM machine and trying to break into it the entire film – but overall, the observant script counterbalances its flaws. In the end, everything comes together in one harmonious tune and we know Barbershop has heart – a commodity that can never be appreciated enough.
 
Movie Guru Rating
An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater.
  4 out of 5 stars

 
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