Barbershop takes place in a South Chicago, well, Barbershop. It is run by Calvin, (Ice Cube) who inherited the shop from his father who got it from his father. The movie spans the length of one day. During that time, Calvin hesitantly sells his shop to the black hearted loan shark, Lester (Keith David).
Calvin needs the money to pursue his dream of turning his basement into a recording studio. He doesn't tell his workers and as the day lingers, Calvin begins to regret the decision to make the sale after learning how important the barbershop is to the town and its people. Once Lester owns it, it will properly be transformed into a strip club.
The highlight of Barbershop is what takes place inside the shop. Whenever the camera isn't inside, it is following a lame sub-plot in which two idiots steal an ATM machine, and spend the entire day lugging it around from place to place not knowing what to do with it or how to break inside. There is also another weak sub-plot where Calvin tries to get Lester to cancel the sale, which will take effect the next day. I agree with Roger Ebert in that it would have been nice to stay inside the entire time, but the reach for other events taking place was inevitable.
But inside the barbershop, is where all of the fun takes place. There are seven barbers. Six men, one woman, six blacks and one white. Stealing the show is Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer). Not even 40, Cedric plays the role of the wise old barber with cobwebs in his hair to make him look older. He seems to be the most experienced, although he never gets a customer. He spends the day telling stories and teaching lessons to the younger barbers in the shop. In addition to his wisdom, Eddie also had some controversial opinions to say that would eventually spark a protest from real-life activists Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton.
Then there is Jimmy, (Sean Patrick Thomas) a smart-mouth college student who tries to impress everyone with his knowledge, and also tries to insult everyone with his knowledge. The one female, Terry (Eve), is having problems with her boyfriend and at the same time is angry at the staff because someone is always drinking her apple juice. They keep denying it, but so would you if she approached you during her rage of fury. Dinka (Leonard Earl Howze), is the pathetic Nigerian who tries to get with Eve but is too shy and can't find the courage within him. Ricky, (Michael Ealy) has two strikes against him and will get life for a third. And finally Isaac, (Troy Garity) the only white barber who isn't afraid to stand-up to his ridiculers for living in a black neighborhood, working in a black barbershop and for dating a black woman.
They debate several topics and have many enlightening conversations. Most of topics are uninteresting, but the barbershop staff make it interesting, fun and hilarious. Each of the barbers have their own character and style. Terry always takes the subtle matters, and turns them into life or death situations. Isaac just wants to prove that he can cut a black person's hair, although none of the customers will give him a chance. Ricky has served time and has two strikes hovering over him. It will only be a matter of time before they catch up to him. Calvin has to try to get his shop back before the end of the day, and Eddie has to put sense into anybody who says something stupid.
Barbershop is a fun movie. The cast is entertaining and the jokes are always making us laugh. Although sometimes sexual, the content never escalates higher than what it takes to have a nice booty. There are some minor racial jokes, but at little expense. There's nothing graphic or obscene, so don't mind your mature '13 year old' seeing this with his friends.
I don't want to tell you anymore about this movie, because that's what seeing it is all about. Barbershop is a lighthearted comedy; one that you can see with someone and not feel ashamed. Don't mind the silly sub-plots, and you'll find yourself laughing at an outrageously entertaining feel-good comedy.