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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Barbershop (review)

Thing No. 3,276,943 I Never Thought I’d Say: Ice Cube is adorable. If he were to consider a permanent turn away from the likes of Ghosts of Mars‘s Desolation Williams, I’d have no problem with that. Here, he’s Ordinary Joe Calvin Palmer, a sweetly befuddled guy with a nice wife and a baby on the way and no clue what he wants to do with his life, except get rid of the ghetto barbershop he inherited upon his father’s death two years earlier. If there’s little surprise in learning that over the course of one fateful day, Calvin will come to appreciate the barbershop in ways he’d never have imagined before, there’s much to surprise and delight in the way his change of heart unfolds, influenced by the people around him in the shop, his employees and friends. This is a lovely little film about family and community pride and friendship, one that pokes gentle fun at stereotypes while never forgetting the real people behind a seeming cliché: Sean Patrick Thomas as the “educated sellout,” Troy Garity (Bandits) as the wannabe-black white boy, Michael Ealy (Bad Company) as the former felon trying to go straight, rapper Eve as the girl who can’t see her past her cheating boyfriend to the sweetie right in front of her (Leonard Howze), Cedric the Entertainer (Ice Age) as the old-timer full of bluster, and Ice Cube as the young man who thinks he’s better than what his father was… all of them are perfectly attuned to what makes their characters more what they appear on the surface, and all of them effortlessly make us love them, flaws and all.


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

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

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