Leonard Howze

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Barbershop Review


Good
It seems every "black" ensemble film these days yanks at the same old yarn of bringing back good values to the 'hood - keep your nose clean, love thy neighbor, and treat your woman right. But Barbershop, swelling with the classic Horatio Alger-like "Pull your community up by the bootstraps" message, is populated by surprisingly well-rounded characters and comforting dialogue, managing to be both cliché and refreshingly unusual all in the same breath.

Ice Cube finally puts down the gun and bong (yes, he's doing another Friday movie after this) in his best role since Three Kings. Here he plays Calvin, a soon-to-be father with aspirations for greatness who's inherited his father's struggling barbershop in the south side of Chicago. In a moment of panic, he sells the shop to a local loan shark (Keith David). But soon after, we meet the colorful crew that spend their day at Calvin's: the loony old-timer barber Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), educated but snotty Jimmy (Sean Patrick Harris), two-strike thug Ricky (Michael Ealy), shy but sweet Dinka (Leonard Howza), pimped out "wigger" Isaac (Troy Garity), and tough girl-done-wrong Terri (hip-hop queen Eve). Spending a good day with these regulars, Calvin starts to realize his mistake, and begins working to set his error straight.

Continue reading: Barbershop Review

Barbershop Review


OK

A modest, personable slice of South Side Chicago life, "Barbershop" is a comedy with a sense of community, populated by three-dimensional personalities that break out of their character molds.

Ice Cube stars as Calvin Palmer, the reluctant inheritor of his family's tonsorial storefront -- a neighborhood staple for 40-plus years which is now losing enough money that Calvin is secretly considering selling. A habitual get-rich-quick schemer, he thinks he'll make a better living setting up a garage-sale-supplied recording studio in his basement.

Facing a possible foreclosure after bank loans don't come through to keep the shop afloat, Calvin is beginning to think a $20,000 buyout offer from a greasy local loan shark (who wants to turn the place into a "gentlemen's club") is sounding pretty good. But over the course of one day in the shop, he finally begins to see why his father and grandfather were so willing to struggle to keep the place alive as a touchstone for their depressed part of town.

Continue reading: Barbershop Review

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