Charming urban comedy for teens.
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

Comic violence.


Mild sexual references and situations.


Some strong language for a PG-13, including the N-word.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Brief drug references.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has mature material, including references to adultery and some strong language, including the N-word. Some comments about early civil rights leaders have been very controversial, even prompting calls that they be edited out of the movie. Parents should know that the comments are made by one character and objected to by the other characters, and they may spark the interest of younger viewers to learn more about the people they have heard about in school.

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What's the story?

The BARBERSHOP plays a central role in the life of the community; it's a place where people gather to exchange news and views and just enjoy one another's company. Under a lot of financial pressure, Calvin (Ice Cube), decides one day to sell his family's barbershop to the local loan shark. Though the loan shark promises to keep it the same, after the deal is done, Calvin learns the loan shark will keep it the same only on the outside. He plans to turn it into a "gentlemen's club." Calvin then spends the rest of the day trying to raise the money to buy it back. Meanwhile, two other guys from the neighborhood have stolen an ATM, and they spend their day hiding it from the police and trying to break it open.

Is it any good?


Barbershop is an unassuming ensemble comedy with a surprisingly gentle and heartfelt center. It's impossible not to be charmed by it. As the day goes by, and Calvin's hopes for raising the money dim, he and the viewers are treated to the pleasures of such lively conversation that it makes you wish you could wander into the barbershop and join in. Cedric the Entertainer plays Eddie, the irascible, seen-it-all-and-knows-it-all senior barber. Rap star Eve plays Terri, who seems equally upset over her cheating boyfriend and her missing apple juice. A college student (Sean Patrick Thomas) likes to show off his knowledge and brag about his plans for the future. A two-time loser named Ricky (Ealy) has been given a chance at an honest job, but he is immediately suspected in the ATM theft. A Nigerian immigrant named Dinka is trying to learn his way (and let Terri know that he likes her). And a white barber (Troy Garrity) is trying to be accepted by the black employees and customers.

Calvin sees that the barbershop is a place where people can find something to be proud of. He has given Ricky a chance at a job and he gives another young man a haircut to give him confidence for an important job interview. Ultimately, he learns that the barbershop is something he will want to pass on to his forthcoming child as it was passed on to him. It's great to see Ice Cube in a role that gives him a chance to show what a fine actor he has become. All of the performances are marvelous, with the give and take of the barbershop conversation playing like a series of great jazz riffs. The slapstick story of the ATM thieves is just a distraction (though it helps to tie things up at the end).

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the places that serve as the center of their own communities. Where do people go to see each other and find out what is going on? Where do people go when they need a second chance? Where do they go to hang out and talk about whatever comes into their minds? What do you think about the way everyone treated Isaac? Was it fair? Why did he want to be there when no one seemed to want him? Why do you think people who heard about the movie got so upset over Eddie's comments?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 13, 2002
DVD release date:January 1, 2003
Cast:Cedric the Entertainer, Ice Cube, Sean Patrick Thomas
Director:Tim Story
Studio:Fox Searchlight
Run time:102 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language, sexual content and brief drug references.

This review of Barbershop was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 17 years old Written bypurple_gang April 9, 2008

It was a really good movie and it was really funny.

The plot wasn't really good but the characters were really, really, really good.
Adult Written bylizperle April 9, 2008

Outstanding story, great role models

Rent this with your kids to get you and them past stereotypes.
Adult Written byWhatdoIthink? April 9, 2008
This is a very inappropriate film. Although it has something of a message and is kind of funny, it is not for kids.


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