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Bams' review of


Barbershop (2002)
Rated PG-13; running time 102 minutes
Studio: MGM
Genre: Comedy
Seen at: Celebration Cinema (Lansing, Michigan)
Official site:
IMDB site:
Written by: Mark Brown, Marshall Todd, Don D. Scott
Directed by: Tim Story
Cast: Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Eve, Anthony Anderson, Sean Patrick Thomas, Troy Garity, Michael Ealy, Leonard Earl Howze, Lahmard Tate, Keith David, Tom Wright, Jazsmin Lewis

Review Copyright Rose Cooper, 2002

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Besides wanting to see more of the intelligent Black movies that I know can and should be made, I had very personal reasons for wanting Barbershop to succeed: my father owned his own barbershop, on Davidson near Dexter, right across from the Burg And Beans. And as someone who loves to reminisce, I so hoped that this movie would bring back pleasant memories for me. I won't keep you hangin'; Barbershop delivered.

THE STORY (WARNING: **spoilers contained below**)
Calvin (Ice Cube) has big dreams Becoming Somebody, but he feels that the neighborhood barbershop his late father left him, is an albatross around his neck. It's bad enough that scam artists throughout the neighborhood want Calvin to hook them up a free cut here and there; Calvin is also responsible for keeping the other barbers from tearing each others' throats out.

There's the fiery Terri (Eve), who only wants her man to do her right, and her co-workers to stop drinking her apple juice; Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), the wizened old dude who has many strong opinions but few customers; chip-on-his-shoulder college boy Jimmy (Sean Patrick Thomas), who despises Issac (Troy Garity) because Jimmy thinks Issac is just a White boy trying on Black "clothing", but all Isaac wants is a chance to prove he's the real deal; Ricky (Michael Ealy), a two-time felon trying to do the right thing; and Dinka (Leonard Earl Howze), a West African with a thing for Terri.

Calvin sees loan shark Lester Williams (Keith David) as Calvin's salvation from the life that he thinks killed his father. After he sells Lester his shop, Calvin finally realizes how he gets just as much from the community, as it gets from him. But did he learn this lesson too late?

Barbershop brought back that old Soul Food groove that I was craving in movies lately. In a way, it accomplished what Bamboozled couldn't: it delivered its message with lighthearted fun and good acting, without clowning...well, not overmuch.

One of the more pleasant aspects of Barbershop was its attention to the patois of the 'hood; the musical rhythm of Folks, Talking, that I miss from the days growing up in the 70s ghetto. That funk can't be easily faked; it's the kind of thing you have to be born to, or at least, raised around. You just can't hear that in an academic setting, or an internet chat - or, dare I say it? - in a White styling salon. Nope, that beat belongs on a b-ball court, or the porch stoop of the neighborhood Kool-Aid house...or the local barbershop.

On the other hand, the folks behind Barbershop won my heart because they lived up to the 3BC motto: We Are Not A Monolith. In this, it had something for everyone. Don't care for anonymous babydaddies? Calvin's your guy; responsible to his family, and ultimately, to his neighborhood. Do you like edjumacated Black men? Jimmy, with a little humility, will probably do ya right. Wanna kick'it old school? Look, Eddie's pulling up a chair for you. If you like your folks with a little roughness around the edge, Ricky and Terri might be your speed. And White folks with soul, don't feel left out! Isaac's got a lil' sum'n sum'n for you, too.

The joy in having such diversity of characters extended beyond the simple difference in role types. The arguments themselves - reminiscent, again, of times at my father's barbershop - were just as representative of the non-singular nature of so-called Black Thought. For every "Free Mumia!", there was an "OJ did it!". For every "Reparations now!", there was a "Repair your self, first!". For every "Racism's a thing of the past", there was a "He got yanked for Living While Black". Hey, you - you know who I'm talking to - did you catch that? We span the spectrum. Barbershop declares it loud and clear: we are most def not a monolith.

The heart of Barbershop lies in its solid performances. Ice Cube proves again that he's not a hiphop flash in the acting pan; like Queen Latifah and the evolving Mos Def, Cube has the makings of a good actor. It would be interesting to see him in a breakout starring role that has nothing to do with the 'hood. And speaking of breaking out, Eve impressed me with her performance; neither Eve nor Jazsmin Lewis (Jennifer) chose to portray their parts as the stereotypical indignant, neck-twisting Black woman...well, not overmuch. I didn't laugh as hard as I thought I might at Cedric The Entertainer, but his key scene left me nearly in tears; it reminded me that much of my own daddy.

The rest of the cast were just as strong, though I could've done without that stoopit ATM thugging subplot, no matter how much I generally like Anthony Anderson. Still, if you just have to have a Black thug in a movie, I figure the more he's an object of ridicule (so youngsters won't want to emulate him), the better.

And speaking of Keith David's hairpiece...

Barbershop delivered that old school family feeling that's been missing on the big screen for a bit. You don't have to be Black to Feel it; you just need a little soul.


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And that's the way I see it.

Rose "Bams" Cooper
3BlackChicks Review™
Copyright Rose Cooper, 2002
EMAIL:    ICQ: 7760005

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More 3BlackChicks™ review(s) for this week:
(movies reviewed week of 9/13/02):

Bams' reviews:
Barbershop | One Hour Photo

The Diva's reviews:

Cass' reviews:

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