Anthony's Film Review

Barbershop (2002)

An African-American comedy that will delight everyone regardless of color...

Barbershop may be an African-American comedy, but it has a charm that crosses all racial lines. It should not be ignored because it is assumed to have negative stereotypes seen in other films of black cinema. When I heard about a controversial scene in this movie, I decided to read some reviews of the film. They described a movie that I might enjoy. I would later check it out and find myself smiling after seeing it for the first time.

Barbershop is the story of Calvin and his obligation to continue running his father's barbershop, even while thinking about a career in music instead. Over the course of a day, he tries to sell the shop to a loan shark, but he realizes that the shop is more than just a place to get a haircut. It's also, as his father envisioned, a social club for the locals, like "a black man's country club." There is also a funny subplot involving two guys stealing an ATM machine and trying to break it open.

The movie works well because of characters who are colorful, unique, and likable. Ice Cube as Calvin is your average cool guy. Isaac is the only white guy in this urban barbershop. Jimmy is well educated compared to everyone else working in the shop. Ricky is working in the shop to avoid getting another mark on his criminal record. Teri does not like people drinking her apple juice. Dinka is the foreigner with a gentle heart. And to top it off, Cedric the Entertainer provides the biggest laughs as Eddie, the old barber who goes to the shop but talks all day instead of cutting any hair.

Besides the wonderfully written script, there were plenty of moments where I laughed out loud. The scenes with the stolen ATM machine are hilarious, especially one where Anthony Anderson pretends to actually use it, only to find that other people are waiting in line for it as well. But the best scenes are in the barbershop itself. The heart of the film isn't in the plot, but simply in the lively conversations that go on in there. The barbers have moments involving a solicitor, dancing to rap music, and a heated discussion where Eddie insults famous black people with everyone else openly disagree with him. This is the scene that upset Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, the latter of whom is also referenced in a vulgar but uproariously funny way.

Unlike some other films in black cinema, you do not need to be African-American to enjoy this movie. The film has universal appeal because it's about friendship and enjoying the company of people around you. I remember one comment made by critic Roger Ebert about the film. He said that the film would be better if the loan shark and ATM machine subplots were removed so that the entire movie took place in the barbershop. The barbershop scenes were the ones that made me smile the most.

If anyone wants a film that is funny and heartwarming, I recommend Barbershop. Seeing the film is like spending a day in this imaginary South Side Chicago barbershop and joining the fun that goes on inside.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Barbershop, visit the Internet Movie Database.

In addition, check out my reviews of Barbershop 2: Back in Business and Barbershop: The Next Cut.


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