ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  tim story

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  drama

LENGTH  -  102 minutes

RELEASED  -  13 september 2002


OFFICIAL SITE  -  barbershop

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $12,000,000
barbershop - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from barbershop at

buy the dvd from barbershop at

a day in the life of a south side chicago barbershop.

the test screenings for this film were so positive, that the filmmakers commenced work on a sequel (the screenplay) before the film was released into theaters.


picture from barbershop

picture from barbershop

picture from barbershop


three out of four possible stars

With an impressive array of comedies and action films under his belt, Ice Cube, under his "Cube Vision" production company, attempts to play it straight in his newest film, Barbershop, and let the actors around him make it humorous. And his cast as a lot of talent and is able to bring an audience to laughter several times throughout this film's running time. Although this film is a comedy at heart, Cube makes a decent effort at returning to his dramatic acting abilities, and he usually makes a convincing case.

Even though he frowns for much of the film, its evident that Cube and company had an entertaining time living in sub-zero temperatures while making Barbershop. The concept of looking through the eyes of a predominantly black cast during the cold winter months isn't something that audiences usually get to see. Although the stereotypical African American love of barbeque is brought up (as well as an affinity for fried chicken), this comedy's location is one of its selling factors. Apart from perennial television ratings favorite, "ER," Chicago isn't always the first choice for filmmakers who tend to favor Los Angeles and New York City.

Because the story is quite basic, and it is one audiences will have seen before, the fact that its familiarity doesn't matter much of the time is a mark in Cube and Company's favor. Much of the credit should go to the performers, who take a script without any big surprises and turn it into a worthwhile comedy. The delivery of Cedric the Entertainer as resident barber, Eddie, makes everything that comes out of his mouth hilarious. And in one of her first feature film outings, Eve makes a strong case as an unlucky-in-love barber, and the only female who works at the barbershop.

The vast array of different characters in this film are taken from a variety of sources, and even though Anthony Anderson, who steals some of the spotlight each time he's on screen (Exit Wounds, Romeo Must Die), plays a character very similar to those he's played before, the one character he plays in all his films is still funny. And as the lone white guy in the barbershop, Troy Garity makes quite a statement as a gold-chain wearing, black man wannabe. He gets on the nerves of everyone at the barbershop not because he is white, but because he constantly pretends to be black.

One of the most interestingly dressed members of the cast is Keith David's resident big-time street hustler, Lester, who becomes a thorn in barbershop owner Calvin's side. Calvin is played by Ice Cube and puts the characters around him in jeopardy when he agrees to sell the historic barbershop to Lester. But when Calvin has a change of heart, he can't seem to get Lester to take back his money. Therein lies the central dilemma of the film, and Ice Cube pulls the dramatic moments of the film off nicely. He has a few quiet moments with members of the cast that are a successful foil against the high amount of comedy.

And though his last cinematic outing, All About the Benjamins, was quite a violent, gun filled action movie, Barbershop is different in that the comedy takes center stage, rather than violence. Although there are a few fistfights in the film, this movie could be considered much more innocent than most of Ice Cube's films. And the fact that it is still entertaining, even without gunfights and car chases, is a mark in this cast's favor. But something which seems to pop up a lot in Cube's movies and is on display yet again in Barbershop, is the need for or lack of money. In an overwhelming amount of his films, Cube's character needs to find money to fix a problem (such as in this film), or just happens to find some money that puts him in danger or changes his life (All About the Benjamins, 3 Kings, Friday).

This aspect isn't necessarily negative, and it is used differently in each of Cube's films, but it is an interesting commonality nonetheless. And despite this film's resemblance to any number of plots that have come before it, the best part of this film isn't its story. It's the cast. Every character is unique, and nearly everyone manages to be simply funny, rather than stereotypical. As an entertaining hour and a half, Barbershop gets the job done, without having to be revolutionary or all that different. If anything, this film is worth seeing just because of a rolling-in-the-aisles funny scene that involves a cash machine and an axe.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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