Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Barbershop

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language, sexual content and brief drug references

Reviewed by: Megan Basham
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Add to your list?
View your list
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 42 min.
Year of Release:
2002
Copyright, Metro Goldwyn Mayer click photos to ENLARGE

Starring: Ice Cube, Anthony Anderson, Cedric the Entertainer, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve | Directed by: Tim Story | Produced by: Robert Teitel, George Tillman Jr., Mark Brown | Written by: Mark Brown, Don D Scott | Distributor: MGM

Sequel: “Barbershop 2: Back in Business” (2004)“Barbershop: The Next Cut” (2016)

In “Barbershop”, rapper Ice-Cube headlines the sweet story of an ambitious family man from South-side Chicago trying to make a stand against the immorality around him. At first, Calvin (Ice Cube) thinks if he can just “get his” and move his wife and new baby into a home as nice as Oprah’s guesthouse, he’ll be successful. Of course, to do this, he’ll have to sell the family barbershop to a loan shark planning to turn it into a strip club. After initially letting his greed get the better of him, Calvin spends the rest of the film trying to correct his mistake and learns along the way what success really is.

Not being a fan of rap music, I was a little skeptical of this movie. But not only did I find the film entertaining, I also walked away feeling grateful for honest exposure to obstacles other Americans face. Even as Christians, we cannot always understand what our brother has to bear, but we can know that God who is our father understands and will give each of us the grace and strength to conquer whatever circumstances he has ordained for us.

Some of the language in “Barbershop” is pretty raw. However, it does feel authentic, beginning with the ghetto as it really is, then proceeding to find beauty and dignity in unlikely places. I do wish Director Tim Story (who is himself a former rapper) would have excluded a couple of lines that show a deep lack of reverence for Christ, but, as I do for other non-Christian friends, I will simply pray that he comes to know the man whose name he throws about so carelessly.

Like the barbershop itself, this movie seems to be Story’s stand against an industry whose biggest hits tell young men that acquiring money will make them important, regardless of what effect that accumulation has on their community. “Barbershop” asserts that sacrifice, living up to your responsibilities, and sometimes giving up your own dreams for the sake of others is what true significance is all about.

Several moments, particularly the speeches given by Cedric the entertainer, are hilarious. And though the plot is a little too neat, the dialogue is usually refreshing enough to make up for it. Michael Ealy stands out as reformed ex-con barber, Ricky. And while I don’t want to give anything away, both these characters make some very bold statements concerning divisive issues like Rodney King, O. J. Simpson, and reparations that leave you admiring their courage, even if you don’t agree with their opinions. The rest of the cast (including hip-hop star Eve as a temperamental stylist and Sean Patrick Thomas as a smug, insecure college boy) are also first-rate, and their constant banter is usually as enlightening as it is amusing.

Again, the language is fairly rough, and there is one intentionally gross scene where two people passionately kiss. So you parents will have to decide for yourselves if that is something you’re comfortable with your teenagers watching. Overall, though, the messages are very positive, and if you have a teen who is a fan of rap, this might be a good movie to see and discuss together. “Barbershop” may not be an “A” movie, but it’s definitely a solid “B,” and I’m looking forward to seeing more projects from Tim Story in the future.

Viewer Comments
Positive—I was not excited to see this movie but I ended up enjoying it very much. I went with people of mixed backgrounds and the theatre audience showed this as well. The plot was a little predictable but it had some admirable values. It was very funny in some parts and it ends well. It gave me a glimpse into a culture that I have not been very familiar with because of my background and I think everyone can enjoy it.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—Jessica, age 21
Positive—I really like this movie. It is full of wonderful characters, it’s interesting, and it’s endearing. I really didn’t find anything objectionable in the movie. A few spurts of bad language, sure, maybe. Even with that, this movie is great fun. The scenes in the shop itself are the best in the movie, and we wish we could see more. In that bunch of people, there are so many different views represented, yet we find ourselves not taking sides, but liking each and every character. There is a small subplot that works all right, but the movie’s bread and butter is at the barbershop. A fresh, fun treat.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Jason Eaken, age 19
Positive—I would have to say on a Christian basis the film is Very Offensive considering morals and some of the acts that take place, but in other regards I would have to say the morality is average based on what goes on in every day life. This is a good ensemble comedic film, where except for a few dramatic moments for plot movement, there’s always a joke or need for a laugh. There’s morals to be told in this story, and I think most people will take something from it… Black men hang out and talk about politics, love, race or whatever comes to mind in a frank and truthful way depending on how they see the world. In the end of this film, good does win even thought there are trials. People who did wrong got what they deserved. The main message is that it pays to do the right thing even though at the time it may not seem like a good idea. It was important to be true to one’s self and not to make judgments based on stereotypes. It’s mostly an African-American film, which I believe all cultures could enjoy and learn something from. There is an important white character in the film who teaches an important lesson, and even an Indian whose sorrow helps bring joy in the end. Yes, there’s plenty of foul language! No nudity and little suggestions of sex other than the use of language and one short scene. Most of the film takes place in the barbershop except for two important subplots. Some people may be offended, by this film, because it gives a different point of view on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Rodney King, O.J. Simpson and even somewhat Jessie Jackson in a not so positive way. I enjoyed the film. It’s a very high quality and it all takes place in basically one day. Someone has to right a wrong they committed and help save the outcome of what could effect a lot of other people. There’s a lot of laughter depending on your humor, culture and even some moral lessons!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Shazzar Kallie, age 29
Positive—As a devoted Christian, I found “Barbershop” refreshing. It contained a very strong positive message. The characters that were thoughtful were portrayed as respectable. The characters who gave no regard for rules were portrayed as bumbling fools. I would recommend that other Christian adults go see this movie. It’s morally sound, light hearted, fun.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—crystal west, age 26
Positive—…The movie is great about portraying the comraderie among the customers who frequent the place. Being African-American, I’m very familiar with the conversations that go on in those shops. They range from comments about women to heated debates about politics. Crude language happens often in the film, but it’s not unrealistic due to the setting. There are references to sex, but no explicit nudity. It is also refreshing that African-Americans from all walks of life are portrayed in the film. Cedric The Entertainer (The Steve Harvey Show) steals every scene he’s in. Keith David is appropriately slimy as the neighborhood loan shark. Eve, who’s better known as a rapper, does a good job in her film debut. Eagle-eyed viewers will recognize former basketball star Norm Van Lier, and comedians Carl Wright (Big Momma’s House) and Deon Cole in smaller roles. The film is a good mix of comedy and heartfelt drama.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Hillari Hunter, age 40
Movie Critics
…this urban tale with a moral comes with an abundance of crude language and suggestive comments. Although it may reflect current expressions, frequent vulgarities take the shine off…
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…Despite its rough street language…“Barbershop” is almost heartwarming in its soft-focus treatment of ghetto life…
—Michael Machosky, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
…characters are engaging and the story has a bustling richness…
—Ray Conlogue, Globe and Mail
…DISCUSSION TOPICS—Gossip, family, foreclosure, loan sharks, seniority, desegregation, sense of history, attitude, the NAACP, selling out, race relations, slavery and reparations, the Holocaust…
—Kids-in-Mind