“Barbershop” is a smart, clever, and well-written piece of filmmaking that stars an ensemble cast of predominant African American actors, all talented. Ice Cube is Calvin Palmer, the son of a beloved barber who inherits his father’s old barbershop and takes it for granted mostly running the shop for his father’s sake, viewing it as a waste of time and money. But when he has aspirations of starting a record company, he secretly sells it to local neighborhood loan shark Lester Wallace and slowly begins moving everything out from under the employees who have a bond, and function as a family. I was surprised with this film, because of the screenplay which invokes a large array of truly hilarious and likable characters.
Possibly the most appealing being Terri Jones played well by rapper turned actor Eve who has a cheating philandering boyfriend she keeps going back to. She’s the only girl in the barbershop but surely enough has balls and barks like any of the other men in the shop. There’s an eclectic and appealing array of characters that I just couldn’t get over because I’ve seen these types of characters, I’ve talked to them, and I’ve been to barbershops that form their own little community within the confines of a small shop and have a brotherhood, and you want to see more of them as the film progresses. The screenplay written by Mark Brown, Don D. Scott, and Marshall Todd create a very smart screenplay that never knocks its characters down a peg and fully realizes their potential and on-screen presence. Each of the talented cast is never wasted and everyone seems to shine including Cedric the Entertainer.
He’s the funniest character in the bunch, playing Eddie the only senior in the bunch, a ranting raving barber who lectures, and insults and breaks apart society with his hilarious anecdotes of wisdom. Inside the barbershop is where the best stuff happens and it’s a shame, because outside is where it all seems to fall apart at the seams creating a subplot that has little to no interesting aspects and seems to just detract away from the story as Anthony Anderson star in a subplot about their theft next door to the barbershop in which they steal an ATM machine and attempt to pry it open for the money. While that sets things up for humorous situations, I hardly found it relevant to the story at hand and with either of the characters. It seemed tacked on and like a completely different movie that failed to draw my interest.
The subplot contributes nothing to the film and pretty much wastes time while it should be focusing on the barbershop. There’s nothing wrong with focusing entirely on the barbershop, and the writers seem to show that they don’t have enough faith to focus solely on the barbershop or its characters but instead delves into the nonsensical and unfunny subplot. Ice Cube shines as the charming lead Calvin who’s conflicted to sell the shop to start his career or keep it because it’s a token of his father’s memory and a capsule of people who are a family connected to one place. “Barbershop” captures the old time friendships and bonds people form and brings it onto the screen; the screenplay gives us characters we can relate to, characters we can fall for, the cast of talented ensemble actors shine and make this an entertaining and memorable experience that can not be missed.