Barbershop Review
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I didn’t really expect to enjoy this movie—despite the fact that the case claimed that the Associated Press called it “a comedy with appeal for any audience.” Because I’ve seen a number of movies before that were meant to speak to one specific gender of one specific race, living one specific lifestyle in one specific place. And no matter how hard I tried to understand and appreciate and relate to those movies, I just couldn’t. So I was a little hesitant about Barbershop. Could I—a Caucasian female, raised in a small Midwestern town and living in a snooty prep-school town in New England—understand and appreciate and relate to a movie about African-American males in a barbershop in the hood in the South Side of Chicago?


Barbershop is actually a lot like Seinfeld. Throughout the movie, the people who work in the barbershop talk and argue and cut hair. There’s a two-time felon, a white guy who doesn’t get any clients, a girl (played by rapper Eve) who just caught her boyfriend cheating on her, and an old guy (played by Cedric the Entertainer) who imparts his (sometimes controversial) wisdom on anyone who will listen. And that carries most of the film. Meanwhile, however, there are a couple of small plotlines, too. In one, two amateur thugs who stole an ATM from the convenience store across the street from the barbershop try to keep it hidden long enough to break it open and get the money out. And Calvin (Ice Cube), the barbershop’s third-generation owner, agrees to sell the shop to shady local “businessman” Lester Wallace (Keith David). But once the money is in Calvin’s hands, Wallace announces that he’s going to shut down the shop and turn it into a gentleman’s club. And as the day continues, Calvin realizes that there’s no way he can allow Wallace to shut the shop down—but when Calvin tries to give the money back, Wallace tells him that there’s no deal unless Calvin can double the money by the end of the day.

Barbershop surprised me. Though, like Seinfeld, it doesn’t have a lot of real action, I never lost interest. The story was full of laughs and full of heart—and it proved that movies don’t have to be deep and dramatic to make a statement or two. Cedric the Entertainer was at his best—and the rest of the cast kept right up. The Associated Press was right—this movie really does appeal to a wide audience. Anyone (even white girls living in snooty New England towns) can enjoy this hilarious yet subtly powerful film.

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