Inner-city ensemble comedy

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Opens 31 January, Cert 12A, 102 mins

Set in a local barbershop in south Chicago, this finds Ice Cube cast as Calvin, a second-generation hairdresser eager to be shot of his late father’s business. It takes a run-in with loan shark Lester (Keith David) for Calvin to realise how important the shop is to its customers, its staff and the community at large.

Barbershop won’t win any prizes for originality, but its feelgood mix of familiar elements makes it much bigger than the sum of its parts. Okay, so a dopey subplot involving a pilfered cash machine tests our patience, and the pressure to sew up the various plot threads results in a rushed and unconvincing conclusion.

Cube is hugely loveable here, but the ace in the hole is comedian Cedric the Entertainer, ideally cast as the shop’s resident sage, Eddie. His comments on OJ Simpson, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks have whipped up a storm of controversy in the States, and they’re evidence that Barbershop wants its audience to think as well as laugh.


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