Barbershop (2002)

(On DVD, January 2004) Surprisingly enjoyable “black comedy” that will actually end up speaking volumes to just about everyone. The quasi-theatrical nature of the film is undermined by some silly sequences outside the barbershop itself, but the real strength of the film is in its delicious dialogue and the snappy interplay between the characters in the shop. Outrageous discussions spring freely between barbers and clients, resulting in a warm and likable film that works much better than anyone could expect. Ice Cube and Cedric the Entertainer both do excellent jobs in their roles, with particular props to the latter for a performance in which his natural persona is nearly unrecognizable. Eve also does quite well in a first acting role. The special edition DVD contains a wealth of material, including a bunch of truly interesting featurettes on not just the usual film-making process (including the difficulties in matching location shooting in freezing Chicago with interior footage in a Los Angeles studio), but also a few thoughts on costume design (Yay for Devon Patterson!) and a fun documentary on the recent evolution of male hairstyles. Truly a film worth seeing if you haven’t already done so.

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