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Overall Rating

Awesome: 20.75%
Worth A Look37.74%
Average: 18.87%
Pretty Bad: 18.87%
Total Crap: 3.77%

4 reviews, 29 user ratings

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by PyThomas

"It's a cut-up! (yes, bad pun intended)"
4 stars

It's not every day that you hear Ice Cube telling someone to watch their language.

Hell, I remember way back from 1991 a lyric from a 3rd Bass rap track: "We'd say the F-word, but Ice Cube got the copyright." But eleven years later, there he is, O'Shea Jackson himself, playing Calvin Palmer Jr., a barbershop owner reprimanding one of his employees: "Watch yo mouth, this ain't no Def Comedy Jam."

Take it as an in-joke, I guess. At any rate, Ice Cube has a producing hand in this comedy directed by Tim Story and also starring rap superstar Eve, Troy Garity, Sean Patrick Thomas and Cedric The Entertainer. And I have to say it's a significant improvement on cinematic comedy in the African-American vein, one that's seen more than it's share of crazy-bitches-and-dumb-thugs-in-the-ghetto-type comedies.

We're still in the ghetto - South Chicago to be exact - but the focus is on a black-owned business trying to stay afloat. Calvin's grandfather first opened up the barbershop, and since then it was passed down to him a couple years ago, operating in a sea of debt and leaving Calvin preoccupied with get-rich-quick schemes. A shady character, Lester (Keith David), offers Calvin $20,000 to turn over the entire business and property to him, with plans to turn it into a strip club. Calvin initially takes the buyout, but later reconsiders it once his employees talk some sense into him. Trouble is, a deal cut by Lester is very hard to rescind. Cedric's character Eddie is one of the most outspoken among the employees, especially when he's making a couple of well-publicized rants aimed at Rosa Parks, Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King Jr.

I was amused by all the rabble-rousing that Jesse Jackson raised over those rants, calling for the filmmakers to edit those zingers out of the film. Jesse, shut the hell up and go back to writing your child support checks. This film, as good and hilarious as it is, is not going to bring a half-century of racial progress crumbling to the ground. It's a FICTIONAL WORK. Remember, there are no sacred cows in modern-day humor, including the civil-rights heroes.

If anything, this film should be praised for keeping tired old black-cinema cliches to a minimum. The worst of these offenders, two guys robbing a store of its ATM and trying to crack it, is thankfully kept to a sporadic subplot that has a minor tie-in with the rest of the story. Ice Cube and Tim Story keep the focus of Barbershop on the classic struggle between the noble cause of keeping a heritage alive and the temptation to make a fast buck.

We've seen enough of the tired reusable premises that are paraded around in comedies aimed at African-Americans. Check out Barbershop and see what's right with the world of black filmmaking.

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originally posted: 12/13/02 12:26:48
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User Comments

12/29/17 morris campbell overrated & unfunny imo 1 stars
5/28/09 Samantha Pruitt some pretty funny seens, i like the story, really nice! 4 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams funny and biting sharp humor. 5 stars
11/08/04 Katie This movie is AWESOME! I loved every second of it. I never stopped laughing! 5 stars
8/29/04 Alexandria I luved it i would liek to write to the cast 5 stars
8/21/04 Brittany the movie is soo far soo good for me right now 5 stars
7/24/04 Sandy Turynowicz not bad 3 stars
7/19/04 Phil M. Aficionado It was made with some love, which shows. Authentically funny dialogue. 4 stars
7/13/04 Alfred Guy Not entirely successful, but at least TRIED to make a point. 4 stars
3/01/04 Samuel I would like to run over the cast 2 stars
1/20/04 michel Cedric is the only good thing in this otherwise unfunny bore. 2 stars
12/20/03 ROY L. CAIN,JR. Probably asks the most baffling question: WHOSE BEEN DRINKING EVE'S APPLE JUICE!?!? 5 stars
7/17/03 Terrance Rogers It was OK 4 stars
5/18/03 Freddy another comedy that'll suck 1 stars
2/12/03 michaelb14 not as funny as I had xpected but a good story and likable characters who you can relate to 4 stars
2/04/03 natasha_theobald a bit uneven, but the actors are charming and engaging 3 stars
1/15/03 othree no depth, no FRIDAY either, I'd rather watch Ice-Cube in Anaconda again 2 stars
1/15/03 BAM A GREAR FILM 5 stars
1/11/03 Butterbean I HATED the ATM subplot. They might as well used commercials. But it's a good movie. 4 stars
1/05/03 Dennis G This movie was a big disappointment 2 stars
11/12/02 Kenyatta The movie was realistic and it was okay 4 stars
10/11/02 Kahala the movie was tight. Michael Ealy (Ricky) was sooooo fine. 5 stars
9/26/02 Movie guy A GREAT FILM 5 stars
9/22/02 malcolm interesting, funny; few surprises 3 stars
9/19/02 wintermute The second best film I have seen this year. 5 stars
9/18/02 michele divah the film is quite funny 5 stars
9/15/02 syrius Better than I thought, unlike All About the Benjamins 4 stars
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  13-Sep-2002 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Mar-2006



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