3 out of 5 stars
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Barbershop Support Shadows: Buy a Poster
There's a gentle buzz to this comedy about a family-owned barbershop in innercity Chicago; the filmmakers mercifully avoid the more extreme ends of annoying slapstick, although they get dangerously close a few times. Calvin (Ice Cube) has inherited the shop from his father and has a crew of colourful employees: comic old coot (Cedric), brainy college boy (Thomas), smart ex-con (Ealy), white guy wannabe (Garity), sassy sistah (Eve) and so on. He's being pressured by the local loan shark (David) to sell the shop, and he's very tempted, because he wants the money to improve life for his pregnant girlfriend (Lewis). Meanwhile, a couple of bumbling hoods (Anderson and Tate) are trying to break into the ATM they've just stolen.

The large ensemble cast plays it very nicely, keeping the humour relaxed and organic for the most part. The broad shtick involving the cash machine is unnecessary, hinting that director Story didn't have enough confidence in the earthiness of the central plot. He also chops the film mercilessly, leaving it fragmented and unfocussed. But at least there's a terrific vibe running through--a sense of positive energy we rarely feel in urban movies. Sure, the grit is still here, but it's all in perspective as part of the community, things to work on not to wring hands over. High points are the prickly exchanges between the shop staff, animated discussions and bickering that actually tread on some sensitive territory to get us thinking. It's a bit theatrical (it'd make a great stage play!) as its characters are all specific types thrown together in an unlikely way to spark debate and learn Important Life Lessons. But even as it dabbles with issues of racism and bravado, it's also quite enjoyably entertaining.

cert 12 themes, language, innuendo 4.Feb.03

dir Tim Story
scr Mark Brown, Don D Scott, Marshall Todd
with Ice Cube, Sean Patrick Thomas, Cedric the Entertainer, Eve, Anthony Anderson, Lahmard Tate, Michael Ealy, Keith David, Jazsmin Lewis, Troy Garity, Leonard Earl Howze, Jason George
release US 13.Sep.02; UK 30.May.03
02/US 1h42

Loser boyfriend: Eve and George

cube thomas


R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Charlotte, London: "I think that this film was the funniest comedy since Zoolander. The actors were great; they all made me laugh. I thought Cedric the Entertainer was great. But the best actor of all was Michael Ealy, because he has a look about him that makes him so serious when he acts. He is also the buffest bot I have see in years. Please tell him!" (13.Oct.03)

everyone's gettin lined up Cammy, Canada: "the movie was enjoyable!!! Cedric was hilarious and just amazing! I think Ice cube's character softened him, and Michael Ealy is a real hottie!!! Wow, he may be new but I saw a lot of talent from him and he was so real and so convincing. He inspired me a lot that you can be a newcomer in the acting business but have a lot of potential and talent like he had. Eve was also very good in the movie she had that fire in her character. Overall the movie was and still is a great moviie to laugh with the family." (19.Dec.03)

icecream, Manchester UK: 4/5 "barbershop i must say was well founded. the cast were great and kudos to eve for her part. as for michael ealy, i think he's the most brilliant person. don't know him (wouldn't mind to), but his real character shone through his acting. ice cube is great. i've watched basically all the movies he's been in. it's really refreshing to learn of what he has achieved for himself. i could go on and on, but i'm short of time. thanks." (20.May.04)

2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall