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When I first saw the plot and cast for this movie I was filled with
little hope that this film would be any more than a stereotypical look
at black/urban culture with the characters rhyming words for supposed
comic effect ad the scriptwriter fitting a screenplay around the jokes.
It us easy to forget that the film's protagonist, Ice Cube (who gave a
fine performance) had just come off making the awful 'All About the
Benjamins' which fell into the trap of so many of these comedies based
around black people. Added to the fact that 'Barbershop' was released
when there had been a spate of these sub-standard pictures such as 'How
High', Friday After Next' and 'State Property', you can understand why
I approached this movie with no expectations.
Thankfully I was proved wrong as 'Barbershop' followed a simple structure to work. It had solid direction, a commendable screenplay, was well acted but more important than any of that, it was a story worth telling and that is the one thing that good films have in common. However, this does not mean that this movie followed the conventional ways of Hollywood and 'sold out' to appeal to a mass audience. If anything pleased me most about the film it was the fact that it retained a true sense of representing the black community and credit for this goes to the high standards of dialogue and acting. People who live in the suburbs can watch in the knowledge that they're getting a window into another culture, while people in urban communities can watch this with a comforting sense of familiarity. Another reason for this is that the screenplay is informed enough to not 'pigeon hole'. The characters are well rounded, with both positive and negative traits and the movie is not surrounded by guns,single mothers and drugs. This is not not to say these issues are ignored, as they are connected with one the film's major plot strands but despite the mass media sterotype (to which not all black people are unaccountable) the 'ghettos' of America are primarily filled with honest, hard-working people who just trying to make the best of an unenviable situation. While previous urban films have made a point of blaming 'whitey' and 'the man' for the troubling issues surrounding black people, 'Barbershop' looks closer to home and encourages black people to take responsibility for themselves and to break away from nature of 'frontin' that is slowly paralysing urban communities. One of the films best quotes is 'Dont buy yourself a Benz when your living with your mama! And black people; please can we be on time for something other than free before 10 at the club'. I think this is a wonderful statement and it encourages black people to reject the notion of style over content as that is what the film does as well.
Added to this the well-rounded nature of the film is a diatribe from Cedric The Entertainer (who's performance is almost as hilarious as his stand-up act) about black icons such as Rosa Parks, Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King. This is probably the most provocative section of the film and initially made me question the validity of these icons but after reflection, it made me realized that even Martin Luther King was a human being with flaws but that doesn't take away from his legacy. Regardless what's been said about Jesse Jackson he's still the first black man to run for President and nothing will ever take that away from him.
While Cedric the Entertainer took most of the acting plaudits, this was a great ensemble piece that was well acted all round. My only gripe is that why can't other films of this nature stay true to black culture but also have a cinematic soul
While this was supposed to be about Calvin's barber shop, I enjoyed the
misadventures of J. D. and Billy and the stolen ATM, which became
relevant only toward the end of the movie. As for what took place in
the barber shop itself, I enjoyed those scenes only part of the time.
I thought Cedric the Entertainer did a great job, not only with comic lines but also in a couple of dramatic scenes. Of course some of what he said was offensive, but it was probably realistic. I say 'probably' since I'm white and don't really know the culture.
One well-done scene involved Isaac, the one white barber, and one of the black barbers who had a racist attitude. And another one of the best scenes involved an angry woman, a baseball bat, and a car.
I liked Dinka, who was from Africa. How could anyone not like him? Well, apparently in black culture, in addition to light-skinned blacks being prejudiced against dark-skinned and vice versa, there are some American blacks who are prejudiced against African immigrants. At least that was the case in this movie. Some really harsh comments.
Ice Cube did a good job. I think most of the actors did. There were some characters I didn't like and that may have clouded my opinion of the acting performances, but overall a lot of talent was shown here.
This is definitely one great film. This film pretty much tells it like it
really is in most barbershops in predominantly African-American
neighborhoods. I remember what it was like when I would go with my dad to
get my hair cut and it was pretty much like it is in the film. The
barbershop I went to was the gathering for African-American men of all ages
to not only socialize, but to gossip as well.
Also, about the controversy. I see no harm in what Cedric the Entertainer's character, Eddie, said. If some people were offended by it they really should go to a real barbershop and find out what people really say, especially Jesse Jackson himself.
I had very high execpations walking into Barbershop today and my execpations went way past what I thought. Barbershop is clealry one of the best films I've seen all year. The story is a simple one but the film acutally goes into depth anout how important a barber shop is to the Black Amercian community or any ethnic group for that matter. Ice Cube gives an NAACP Image award worthy performance in the film as Calvin. Cube is cool and charamistic as Calvin the owner of the shop and his supporting cast of Sean Patrick Thomas ( who counties to make a name for himself), Eve ( great debut), Leonard Howze and Mike Ealy all give good performances. Troy Gairty as Issac the white barber and Cedric The Enterainer as the elder barber steal all almost every scene their in. Lahmard Tate and Anthony Anderson along with Keith David also do well in the two subplots. Tim Story has made a great debut and Mark Brown's script is excellent. Get lined up for this one.
Thanks Ice Cube. You did a great job in creating and showcasing a part of
African-American life that was true-to-life. There were so many diverse
elements that all came together, they seem too many to mention. But all of
the main characters had a measure of character development and an intimacy
that you couldn't forget.
Even the minor characters played a big role, such as Lamar (J. David Shanks). Though introduced briefly very early in the movie, he played a major- but again brief- role near the end. Minor character- major input. The robbery of the convenience store: five characters interwoven all with lessons to learn- Craig (Ice Cube), Ricky Nash (Michael Ealy), Detective Williams (Tom Wright), Samir (Parvesh Cheena) and, of course, JD (Anthony Anderson). The timing in various scenes were impeccable. The following sequence: the radio voice of Chicago deejay Howard Magee, Billy's mother (?), Gabby (Jasmine Randle), Billy (Lahmard J. Tate) and JD was wonderfully choreographed.
I know some will say, "Hey, it was predictable. I knew beforehand the resolution of some, most, or all of the character's plights." And that may be true. But it's the manner in which each character was interwoven- how one touched another and yet criss-crossed each other that gave this movie special meaning. How each character had their strengths or weaknesses to overcome. Great stories being told by Mark Brown, Don D. Scott, Marshall Todd and with Tim Story's direction. Every major character was (and is) a character study.
Terence Blanchard does an admirable job supporting the scenes with his score.
And regarding the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks controversy, the writers qualified that diatribe very clearly as it progressed. Did people hear just want they wanted to hear?
Another important feature that I admire was the honesty, sometimes brutal, on other issues such as foreigners owning businesses in the African-American community or how dangerous it can be for anyone living in certain parts of the "ghetto" or how we (yes I'm African-American) help keep each other from prospering.
It wasn't until I started viewing "Barbershop" a second time (and dissecting it) where I saw additional insightful and valuable revelations. An example being Hustle Guy (DeRay Davis). (Dogs and Pampers?) Many times we see the local hustler as a comedic tool, hustling whatever he/she can get their hands on. But he's only trying to earn a living- void of a storefront for lack of investment capital. And we find out how valuable Hustle Guy is, also, before the movie ends. Minor character- major message.
If you haven't seen it, see it. If you've seen it, and just saw it for it's entertainment value, see it again for some valuable lessons.
Not only will it be in my movie collection, but it will be used as a teaching tool for my grandsons (and granddaughters if I'm blessed with any).
Believe it or not, to me, Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer's character) was the most unbelievable. Not that Eddie wasn't valuable, because he was. It was Cedric's interpretation of Eddie and the lack of age lines on his face that was a pure turn off for me. For those reasons, I wanted to remove 1 point. But because of the strength of the other characters and the story, I'm keeping it a 10.
The 7.1 rating as of this writing is an injustice to the quality and caliber of this production.
I give it a $10.00 haircut plus a $5.00 tip.
Great job Ice Cube to you and your production company, Cube Vision. Great job.
always comparing, this is not as funny as bad Santa or the classic, Airplane! but i seriously could NOT stop laughing on this movie. Eddie cracks me up with his discussion on racism and Jesse Jackson. "Man fu@% Jesse Jackson!" This is more than just a comedy, it has a meaning to it. one of the few comedies with a meaning to it, and a good one. if you liked Friday, next Friday, any of Anthony Anderson's films of any comedies, check this out! i watched this over and over the first time i bought it. i HIGHLY recommend this movie to any movie buff or anyone period. Tim Story's best film by far with the only films i know by him being fantastic 4, which i hated and taxi, which was OK. 10/10
Hilarious picture that is held together just well enough by a somewhat mediocre screenplay to be one of the funnier movies of the past few years. In inner-city Chicago barbershop owner Ice Cube hates where his life is at. He has a very pregnant wife (Jazsmin Lewis) and is drowning in debt due to his late father's apparent lack of business sense. He looks at the shop as a burden and wants to unload it to shady neighborhood businessman Keith David (and his very large bodyguard DeRay Davis). What Cube does not realize is just how important the business is to many in the neighborhood and he also fails to realize that David cares nothing about the people and wants to turn the place into a gentleman's club. Some of the other cutters include intellectual Sean Patrick Thomas, West African immigrant Leonard Earl Howze, racially confused white boy Troy Garity, two-time criminal Michael Ealy, lonely and out-of-place Eve (who is involved with two-timing boyfriend Jason Winston George) and priceless veteran barber/loud-mouth Cedric The Entertainer (very politically incorrect as well). Simultaneously two local losers (Anthony Anderson and Lahmard Tate) have stolen an ATM machine from a convenient store near Cube's barbershop. The two try and try to get the money that is not even inside out with painstakingly outlandish results. Unwittingly they have taken an empty money machine. African-Americans like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson rubbished this movie as being demeaning and rude to black communities. This was never the intention of the film-makers (I don't think). Cedric has a tongue of acid here as he takes on Jackson, Sharpton, O.J. Simpson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Rodney King and even Walter Payton. I believe the real point of Cedric's character is to show that the titled location is a place of comfort and respect, regardless of an individual's views or perspectives. In this regard it makes you realize just what a close-knit group the characters are to each other. All the players are very different and sometimes don't like one another, but still they respect and welcome everyone else. Overall I liked the project (even though it is not the most fundamentally effective film ever made by a long-shot). Comedic timing and fresh characters make a sub-par script and ho-hum direction look much better than they really are. Watch for former Michigan Fab-Fiver and current NBA standout Jalen Rose as one of the many diverse customers. 4 stars out of 5.
I thought this was a pretty decent flick. I laughed out loud at least twice, which is OK, because this film is not really supposed to be hilarious, just sardonic, mostly. Cedric the Entertainer was good, but not truly believable as an elderly man. Ice Cube turned in a quite good performance. In some of his previous films, I had thought he was pretty good, but rather one-dimensional. ("Anaconda" "Three Kings") Here, he definitely extends his acting range enough to be taken seriously. And wherever the one-named "Eve" came from, she nailed her character. There's a lot more to this movie than the controversial lines from Eddie (Cedric). It was interesting to see some black characters be aware of, and concerned about, the pathologies in the black community. But I guess this is spoken of only in barbershops, or elsewhere away from whites. Overall, definitely worth a look. Grade: B+
The first thing I have to mention is that one day, I don't know when, but
one day Michael Ealy, who plays Ricky, is going to be a major talent. He
has an incredible relationship with the camera. He has charisma that you
cannot learn in all the drama workshops in creation. He has authentic
charm. He does not overplay his character and believe me, it would have been
easy to go that route. I've recognized some talent before they became stars,
and this guy has it. I could not take my eyes off him for a second. I
think a star is born.
Eve is also very good and has a future in movies if she wants one. If she could just keep track of her damn apple juice.
Cedric makes the movie. He's the heart of the movie, the center, and hilarious to boot. I watched this movie three times to make sure I didn't miss any of his dialogue. I've seen MUCH worse performances receive Oscar nominations, and its a real injustice that he was ignored. He's just great.
For an old timer like me, it was also nice to hear The Staple Singers over the closing credits, too.
On the other hand...Ice Cube does not register more than one emotion, the sub-plot w/Anthony Anderson and the cash machine is unworthy of the rest of the movie, and Keith David, who I normally love, is terrible.
This review is not as mixed as it may appear to be. I rated it an '8' mostly cause of Ealy and Cedric. I may not be seeing "Barbershop 2" anytime soon, obviously not because I didn't enjoy the first one, but because I don't support or have interest in sequels. They're not worth the time and all the producers are really saying is that they had an idea, did well with it, now want to exploit every good feeling you had about the first one. Almost no movies require a sequel anyway.
Not every movie can be entirely original. But it's annoying to see
obvious rip-offs from other movies combined with a lack of talent for
story-telling (or in this case scene-telling). Obvious references which
are simply taken and copied only with much lesser intelligence are:
Coming to America, Big Lebowski, Do The Right Thing, Carwash, etc.
For instance the car smashing scene: It isn't even done well, the guy takes forever to notice that his car is being smashed, then he runs out on the street and there isn't a single funny line. The scene is straight out of Big Lebowski (a movie I didn't like and found less original than almost everyone else but at least there was some craft involved in the making of that particular movie).
And this happens all the time: people talk and do the most obvious things. No twists, no clever dialogue, just a shallow and flat deliverance. It sometimes even feels as if there was no script at all. People seem to have a general idea of a scene then just went along to see if anything (funny) would happen.
It's all good and fine to try to capture alleged everyday life but this requires a skill. The "jokes" throughout the movie have Police Academy quality. i.e. they are primitive, slap-sticky and have been seen a million times. Fat guys are just fat and that is supposedly funny enough. For them to quote and make fun of Rosa Parks, MLK has absolutely no reason or twist or whatever. At one point in the movie guys talk about being entitled to reparation payments like Jews for the Holocaust. It's mystifying what all these touchy subjects that appear out of nowhere in the movie are supposed to be doing for a film that seems to want to be a light-hearted snap-shot of some inner city neighbourhood.
It seems someone just wanted to cram every possible subject into a setting without rounding if off in any way thinking you can just loosely tie together scenes and ideas (from others), then mix in a few controversial subjects and voilà: Here's your masterpiece. Well: it didn't work.
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