Mark Reviews Movies

BARBERSHOP

2 ˝ Stars (out of 4)

Director: Tim Story

Cast: Ice Cube, Anthony Anderson, Cedric the Entertainer, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve, Troy Garity, Michael Ealy, Leonard Earl Howze, Keith David, Jazsmin Lewis, Larhmard Tate

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

Running Time: 1:42

Release Date: 9/13/02


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Capsule review by Mark Dujsik

Barbershop would make a good play, and one day, I hope it does. A play of this material would force the writer to eliminate the outside events of the story or just leave them on the outside where they belong. It would also force the writer to flesh out the characters more and give them much more to say. There are the startings of a solid character comedy here, but too much plot is forced upon the characters. Why is there this perceived need to have a plot, no matter how generic, in character-driven movies like this? In trying to fulfill this misguided requirement, screenwriters Mark Brown, Don D. Scott, and Marshall Todd succumb to temptation and lose sight of the movie’s potential and strengths. Some of the potential is realized and many of the strengths have the opportunity to shine through, but in the end, the extraneous material manages to overshadow it all, which is rather unfortunate. The plot revolves around Calvin Palmer (Ice Cube), who inherited the family barbershop after the death of his father. He finds himself selling it to a local loan shark, and after learning his idea to change it into a gentlemen’s club and seeing the community that has formed because of the establishment, he realizes the error of his ways. So of course, he tries to bring back the money. Meanwhile, a pair of ATM thieves tries to break into the machine to little success. That’s the thin setup. Where the movie finds its success is in the interaction of the rich diversity of interesting and likeable characters. When the script takes the time to allow its characters to argue and discuss politics and history, the movie comes to life. The locale is solid and the characters are the kind of people we’d like to hear more from and about, but the movie focuses too much on the tried and tired plot developments for the characters to completely grow on us.

Copyright © 2002 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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