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