Barbershop (2002)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Ensemble Film, Urban Comedy, Workplace Comedy  |   Release Date - Sep 13, 2002 (USA)  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Josh Ralske

Barbershop is a genial urban workplace comedy. Director Tim Story keeps things moving at an appropriately bouncy pace, and the cast is energetic and appealing. Barbershop is clearly modeled after Car Wash, and manages to capture some of that movie's low-key, lightweight charm. While the plot tangentially encompasses guns, crime, and overzealous police, the film takes place in a sunny, bright, and essentially tension-free inner city Chicago. In fact, Barbershop could use a touch of the working-class grit that made Car Wash so memorable. There's never any real sense that anyone is working that hard at anything except running their mouths, and never any sense that anything more than hurt feelings are at stake, even when it seems that the entire crew are going to lose their livelihoods due to shop owner Calvin's (Ice Cube) hasty decision to sell the shop to a low-life criminal (played with just the right degree of menace by Keith David). A subplot about an ATM robbery offers a silly, but efficient slapstick counterpoint to the talky comedy at the film's core. While the film makes a noble stab at inclusiveness, featuring sympathetic white and Indian characters, there's a mild, but still disappointing sexism in the way it sometimes objectifies black women. But in the end, Barbershop is a crowd pleaser, which is all that it sets out to be.