Barbershop (2002)
Directed by Tim Story
Written by Mark Brown

From all the hype surrounding this movie, I expected to pee my pants with laughter for the duration. As it happened, I did pee my pants, but it was merely from incontinence. That said, Barbershop is a fine little film, not all that uproarious, but full of heart.

Ice Cube, looking quite a bit like the latter-day Malcolm Jamal-Warner, plays the son of a dead barber beloved by the community. Wanting to get out from under his father's shadow and do his own thing, Cube decides to sell the barbershop – until he realizes how much it means to him and to the community.

The problem is, he sold the shop to a diabolical loan shark!

A rather overplayed subplot involving a stolen ATM machine rounds things out. Really, the plot is just a framework on which to hang a celebratory view of barbershops as pillars of Black communities. The argument is well made, though the characters who drive the point home are fairly one-dimensional. You have the educated Black guy, the uneducated Black guy, the Black-wannabe white boy, the sassy Black soul sista, the cranky old Black guy, etc. Mostly, it's all an excuse for dialogue about race and society – consider it Spike Lee-lite, though leagues above John Singleton.

Enjoyable enough, all of it. Cedric the Entertainer, looking like Frederick Douglass, makes lots of funny and/or provocative remarks.

Review by Davis