The movie is about Calvin (Ice Cube), a hardworking brother from the South Side of Chicago who inherits the neighborhood barbershop--the social hub of the community--from his father. The shop is failing, the bank is closing in, and Calvin wants out. Mired in debt, but desperately wanting to make sure this local institution remains forever "The Barbershop," Calvin makes a call. He sells the shop to a local loan shark (Keith David, "Requiem for a Dream"), on the condition that the sign outside will always say "Barbershop." Lester the Shark proceeds to turn the place into a strip club called the Barbershop. It all sounds like something J.J. might get involved in while Florida is out picking up the food stamps. The host of requisite characters are likewise '70s-sitcom cliché and embarrassing. Starring Ice Cube, Anthony Anderson, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve, Troy Garity, Michael Ealy, Leonard Earl Howze, Keith David, Lahmard Tate and Cedric the Entertainer. Directed by Tim Story. Written by Mark Brown, Don D. Scott and Marshall Todd. Produced by Robert Teitel, Mark Brown and George Tillman Jr. An MGM release. Drama/Comedy. Rated PG-13 for language, sexual content and brief drug references. Running time: 102 min
It's hard to imagine a more condescending film than "Barbershop." It is wretched for so many reasons: the manifestation of myriad stereotypes, a dumb story suited for an old-school blaxploitation film, cheesy production design, too much ad-libbing, and a lot of just plain bad acting. Ice Cube stars and music video director Tim Story makes his feature debut with a Mark Brown script. It never had a chance. The single excellent performance Ice Cube gave (as Doughboy in "Boyz N the Hood") was over a decade ago ("Three Kings" was just a good script); Tim Story even makes bad music videos; and Mark Brown wrote and directed "Two Can Play That Game."