Making the Grades
Calvin Palmer (Ice Cube) dreams of owning a recording studio and a five-bedroom house with his wife Jennifer (Jazsmin Lewis). His reality is a family barbershop in the rougher part of Chicago's south side and a growing pile of unpaid bills. The local employees are a mishmash of hairstylists who serve an equally eclectic clientele while bantering, bickering and deliberating on life.
Holding seniority in the shop, Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer) raises plenty of controversy over African-American history but never appears to have an actual customer in for a cut. In the next chair, Ricky (Michael Ealy) is an ex-con trying to go straight. Meanwhile he gives advice on attracting the opposite sex to Dinka (Leonard Earl Howze), the rotund Nigerian immigrant who sweeps the floors while learning the trade. Aiming for a college education, Jimmy (Sean Patrick Thomas) likes to disclose his opinions while he snips and doesn't hide his dislike for the shop's only Caucasian clipper, Isaac (Troy Garity). The lone female employee, Terri (rap star Eve) has an ongoing love-hate relationship with her two-timing boyfriend Kevin (Jason George) and a problem with people drinking her apple juice.
One day, Calvin, pressured by the responsibility of the inherited establishment and his own growing family, decides to sell the shop to a local loan shark (Keith David). But by closing time that evening, he realizes his mistake. The Barbershop is more than just a business. It's a gathering spot, a political soapbox and a springboard for improving lives. Unfortunately it will cost the former owner double the selling price to get it back.
Set for the most part within the confines of the storefront, the storyline combs through the simple details of life that will eventually shape who we become. However, the profanities, sexual comments and innuendos are so excessive that most families with teens will be hard pressed to justify watching the film---too bad because the moviemakers have offered some sound down-to-earth advice that applies regardless of racial background.
With so much good to say, it's a shame the editing department didn't give this final cut a little closer shave.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Barbershop.
Although Calvin’s father was never financially well off, Eddie said he was rich because he invested in people. What things did he do to help others in his community? How could a simple thing like a haircut change a person’s prospects?
Reparation is a hot topic among the shop inhabitants. Rather than getting a handout, what things does Ricky feel people need to do to turn around their lives? Why does a dole sometime prevent people from overcoming personal problems or financial difficulties?
Calvin carries around a picture of Oprah’s guesthouse in his pocket. How did this “dream” keep him from appreciating what he had right in front of him? What is the difference between striving to improve our lives and learning to find satisfaction and contentment with what we have?