When Sunshine Anderson came on the scene with “Heard It All Before,” who knew that she would foresee the anthem for the No. 1 grossing film, “Barbershop,” an abysmal comedy about big-butt jokes, fried chicken and women with bad blonde weaves? Ice Cube is Calvin, the son of longtime barber Calvin Sr. Calvin Jr. resents that he’s inherited his father’s barbershop. His father died in debt, and Calvin has to find a way to make a profit. He chooses to turn the shop over to a greasy loan shark, then regrets it shortly after. Calvin must waste another hour trying to come up with a way to get the money back to Wallace (Keith Davis), who makes him pay double for being backing out of the deal. Meanwhile, small-time crooks J.D. and Billy (played by Anthony Anderson and Lahmard J. Tate) have robbed a small East Indian convenience store of its brand new automated teller machine. The crooks know the ATM is new, yet they must’ve fallen asleep during economics class, where everyone learns that there is never any money in new ATMs.The barbers in Calvin’s barbershop have names, but they are unimportant to the script or to this review. The actors force themselves into cookie-cutter roles with the depth of a golf ball’s dimple. But perhaps the most insulting portrayal by far, was that of Sean Patrick Thomas renewing his role as the most aggravating black man alive. As College Guy, Thomas makes it a point to irritate everyone around him, correcting his fellow barbers from everything to the classification of a scallop to the location of Pakistan. Of course, Michael Ealy, the Sexy Thug, gets to correct him in public, humiliating him thoroughly. Surprisingly, rapper Eve doesn’t embarrass herself in her role of Only Girl Around All The Guys. In fact, her presence – a little taller and a little thicker than most females in Hollywood – is rather refreshing. She could still use a couple more lessons in the Mos Def/Queen Latifah School of Rappers Who Act, however. On the other hand Troy Garity should erase his role as Proud Wigger from his resume and pray that no Hollywood directors remember it. (Take note of one of his very first lines and the forced pronunciation of the phrase “A’ight den.” One can imagine he practiced that line in a mirror for days. He proudly calls College Guy a sellout, decreeing that he’s blacker than College Guy. As “Barbershop” teaches us, being black has nothing to do with the color of one’s skin – it’s about the car one drives, the clothes one wears, and the power of the bling. Cedric the Entertainer, usually hysterical and on point, is absolutely awful as Old Guy. When he’s not blathering about something in a rushed mumble, he’s expounding on something boring over cheesy piano music. The only thing memorable about his role is his bad wig and even worse accent (Chi-town by way of somewhere in the South).The movie is only an hour and 42 minutes long, but it feels much longer since the laughs are few and far between. In short, “Barbershop” doesn’t even come close to a clean shave.
J. Danielle Daniels can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org