25 November 2002 | Ronin47
Warm and entertaining, but uneven (**1/2)
An uneven but mostly entertaining comedy/drama, "Barbershop" stars Ice Cube as Calvin, the owner of a neighborhood barbershop that has been passed down in his family through the generations. Of course, it's more than just a barbershop; it's a cornerstone, where you go to laugh with friends and find out what's happening in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, that doesn't pay the bills, and Calvin, tired of barely scraping by, decides to sell the place to a local loan shark (Keith David).
The movie covers the events in and around the barbershop on the day Calvin sells it, changes his mind, and spends the rest of the day trying to get it back, along with several other sub-plots involving other characters in and around the shop (the most interesting being played by Cube and Cedric the Entertainer, both terrific actors).
Whenever the movie stays in the barbershop, it's usually a lot of fun, with some good, entertaining dialogue and witty interplay between the many characters (both barbers and customers). However, the film frequently cuts to an annoying and mostly unfunny sub-plot about two bumbling crooks (Anthony Anderson and Lahmard Tate) trying to break into a stolen ATM machine. This is almost entirely unrelated to anything else in the film, and even though it connects with the main plot at the end, it still feels like dead weight that could have easily been entirely cut from the movie.
This is a good movie, full of heart and worth checking out just for the performances by Cube and Cedric, as well as the good tunes on the soundtrack. It just has a few too many dry stretches and the irritating ATM sub-plot, which holds me back from whole-heartedly recommending it.