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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Barbershop has mature material, including references to adultery and some strong language, including the "N" word and "f--k." 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 are objected to by the other characters, and they may spark the interest of younger viewers to learn more. There are a few drug references and violent situations, including a character holding but not using a gun. Sexual content includes exaggerated French-kissing and buttocks grabbing and constant talk of women's large and desirable derrieres.
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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?
This is an unassuming ensemble comedy with a surprisingly gentle and heartfelt center. It's impossible not to be charmed. 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 (Michael 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 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 in Barbershop 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).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the places like the Barbershop that serve as the centers of their own communities. Where do people go to see each other and find out what's 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?
Did you find the discussion about Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Jesse Jackson to be offensive? Why, or why not?
What is an ensemble comedy? Can you think of some other examples?
- In theaters: September 13, 2002
- On DVD or streaming: January 1, 2003
- Cast: Cedric the Entertainer, Ice Cube, Sean Patrick Thomas
- Director: Tim Story
- Studio: Fox Searchlight
- Genre: Comedy
- Character Strengths: Integrity
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language, sexual content and brief drug references.
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