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Barbershop is a American comedy film directed by Tim Story, produced by State Street Pictures and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on September 13, 2002. Starring Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, and Anthony Anderson, the movie revolves around social life in a barbershop on the South Sidemarker of Chicagomarker. Barbershop also proved to be a star-making vehicle for acting newcomers Eve and Michael Ealy.


On a cold winter Saturday in Chicago, Calvin Palmer, Jr. (Ice Cube) decides he's had enough of trying to keep open the barbershop his father handed down to him. He can't borrow enough money to keep the place open, it's not bringing in enough revenue, and he's more interested in coming up with get-rich-quick schemes to bring in easy money. Without telling his employees or the customers, Calvin sells his barbershop to a greedy loan shark named Lester Wallace (Keith David), who lies about keeping the place the same and suddenly makes plans to turn the place into a strip club.

Prior to this, two wannabe thugs JD (Anthony Anderson) and his best friend Billy (Lahmard Tate) stole a ATM Machine from a convenience store and they spend all day trying to pry it open.

After spending a day at work and realizing just how vital the barbershop is to the surrounding community, Calvin rethinks his decision and tries to get his shop back...only to find out Wallace wants double the $20,000 he paid Calvin to give the shop back, and before 7 P.M. Now Calvin has only a scant few hours to try and raise enough money to save the shop. After he admits to the employees that he sold the barber shop and that it would be closing at the end of the day, Chicago police come in and arrests one of the barbers named Ricky (Michael Ealy). Ricky was arrested after being accused of driving his pickup truck into a near by market to steal the ATM, but it is revealed that the ATM thief, JD, is Ricky's cousin and he was the one who committed the crime after borrowing Ricky's truck. That was Ricky's third strike, and he could be sentenced to life in prison. Calvin uses the $20,000 from Lester Wallace to bail Ricky out of jail. Once Calvin picks Ricky up from the jail, Ricky is angry at his cousin for betraying him and wants to kill him. Calvin tries to calm him down, but Ricky doesn't show any sign of calming down. Calvin gives Ricky a gun he found that fell out of Ricky's locker at the shop, and is disappointed that Ricky is going to end up right back in jail. Ricky tells Calvin to pull the car over, and he does. Ricky gets out and decides to throw the gun off the bridge they're on and into the water before getting back into the car, proving that he doesn't want to get in any more trouble with the law. Then they both go to see Lester Wallace. Lester Wallace, as well as JD and Billy (who were still trying to pry it open) are confronted by Calvin and Ricky. Calvin and Ricky demands Lester to give Calvin his barbershop back. Lester is angered and orders his bodyguard Monk to pull out his gun. The police arrive just in time to save Calvin and Ricky. JD and Billy are arrested. Calvin and Ricky see the ATM, and get a $50,000 reward for returning it to police. They get the money, and the barber shop reopens with even better business than before. In the meantime, Calvin's wife Jennifer has given birth to a baby boy.



  • Ice Cube as Calvin Palmer, Jr., The protagonist. A young expectant father, who feels like the barbershop his father left him to manage is causing undue complications in his life.

  • Anthony Anderson as JD, a thief who steals an ATM and spends the duration of the film trying to find a way to pry it open. Near the end of the film, it is revealed that he is Ricky's cousin.

  • Cedric the Entertainer as Eddie, a 60-plus year old barber who strangely never cuts any hair. He worked under Calvin's father, and constantly compares and contrasts both Palmers and the periods they lived in.

  • Keith David as Lester Wallace, The film's main antagonist. A crafty loan shark who buys Calvin's shop for $20,000 and plans to turn it into a strip club. After selling the shop, Calvin spends the rest of the film trying to figure out a way to raise the money to buy it back, as Lester raises the price to $40,000 after he has control of the shop.

  • Michael Ealy as Ricky Nash, a two-time loser who works at the barbershop. He is good friends with Calvin and Dinka. He frequently gives Dinka advice on how to win Terri's heart. Near the end of the film, he helps Calvin try to get the barbershop back from Lester.

  • Sean Patrick Thomas as Jimmy James, a recent college graduate and academically-astute young man who sees his job at the barbershop as nothing more than a temporary stop on his way to a "real" job. He constantly picks on the barbers.

  • Eve as Terri Jones, a hostile young woman with a cheating boyfriend, who accuses Jimmy of drinking her apple juice. She is the only female barber in the shop.

  • Troy Garity as Isaac Rosenberg. The only Caucasian in the shop, Isaac is the recipient of trans-racial humor from some of the other characters, especially his nemesis, Jimmy.

  • Leonard Earl Howze as Dinka. An overweight immigrant from Nigeriamarker, Dinka is the butt of many jokes based on his African nationality and his large size. He has an unrequited crush on Terri. He is also good friends with Ricky and frequently asks him for advice on how to win Terri's heart.

  • Jazsmin Lewis as Jennifer Palmer. Calvin's seven-months-pregnant wife, who first met Calvin in the barbershop. She reminds him a number of times about the cultural and historical significance of the shop and why he should not sell it.


  • Lahmard Tate as Billy, JD's accomplice in the ATM theft. He is a immature grown man still living with his mother and bratty little sister, Gabby. He does everything wrong and it causes problems for him and JD with the ATM throughout the film.

  • Tom Wright as Detective Williams, a detective investigating the ATM theft. He automatically assumes Ricky committed the crime because of his past criminal record. He comes by the barbershop and bothers Ricky and assures Ricky he is going to arrest him when he "finds out" he stole the ATM.

  • Jason George as Kevin, Terri's cheating boyfriend who is a compulsive liar and is a egotistical jerk . He had a woman hiding under his bed when Terri came by to visit before work. He shows up at the barbershop trying to win her back but he only makes it worse by offending her calling her "average". She kicks him out and in anger he tries to attack her but Dinka steps in and punches him twice in the face. Kevin leaves embarrassed.

  • DeRay Davis as Rayford, Rayford is a hustler who comes by frequently to sell his (possibly stolen) goods. Rayford means well but he is very annoying to Calvin and it prompts him to put him out every time he comes by. Rayford is hurt when Calvin (obviously in a bad mood) kicks him out and threatens to call the cops. Rayford reminds him how he helped him and the barbershop over the years.

  • Parvesh Cheena as Samir, the owner and manager of the convince store where the ATM was stolen from. Earlier in the movie, Calvin tells Samir to stay strong when he is outside hysterically panicking in an upset tantrum. Samir greatly appreciates this advice and when Calvin comes to buy something he thanks him and they have a nice long talk. Samir also has a black wife who he affectionately calls his "boo".


  • Carl Wright as Checker Fred, an elderly customer who has apparently been coming to the shop for decades. He was good friends was Calvin Sr. and is still friends with Eddie. All he does is sit around the barbershop playing checkers. However, he is angered when Eddie makes ignorant comments about Rosa Parks and Jesse Jackson.

  • Kevin Morrow as Monk, Lester Wallace's intimidating sidekick and bodyguard. Monk takes his job very seriously and is overprotective of Lester. He is always ready to beat someone up. When Calvin refuses to take the money back from him and Lester, Monk chases Calvin almost around the block until Calvin is cornered by dogs and has to run into him again.

  • Norm Van Lier as Sam the Customer, a former Chicago Bulls player. He enters the shop to collect donations to buy shoes for a young basketball player named Johnny Brown, who hopes to be recruited.


Produced on a $12 million budget, Barbershop, with a story by Mark Brown and a screenplay by Brown, Marshall Todd, and Don D. Scott, was filmed in Chicago during the winter of 2001. The filmmakers used a storefront in the South Chicago community areamarker (79th Street and Exchange Avenue) that was once a laundromat to build the set for Calvin's barbershop, and the set was duplicated on a soundstage. Similar to what he achieved with his 1997 film Soul Food, producer George Tillman, Jr. wanted to portray African Americans in a more positive and three-dimensional light than many other Hollywoodmarker films had in the past. This film also features three original songs by R&B singer/songwriter Sherod Lindsey.

Subjects discussed in the barbershop

Some of the subjects talked about in Barbershop were:
  • The significance of Rosa Parks' contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. In a sequence the filmmakers hold up as the film's centerpiece, Eddie loudly (but correctly) points out that Parks was not the only (or even the first) Black person to protest the segregated bus seating system prevalent in many metropolitan areas. Checkers Fred tells Eddie that he "better not ever let Jesse Jackson hear you talking like this," to which Eddie responds "Man, fuck Jesse Jackson!" When Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton heard about this scene, they started a boycott campaign against the film, and called upon MGM and State Street Pictures to edit the offending sequence out of the film before it reached home video and TV. The film was released on home video in January 2003, with the Parks discussion intact.
  • Arizonamarker citizens' initial refusal to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as an official holiday in 1993, and Martin Luther King, Jr's infidelity. Jackson and Sharpton also wanted the King reference deleted from the movie, but, like the Rosa Parks sequence, it was not.
  • Whether black people need (or deserve) reparation.
  • White people who "act black" (Isaac) and black people who "act white".
  • Whether being educated makes a black person "better" than everyone else.
  • The generation gap.
  • Evander Holyfield, Christianity, and Jesus' religion.
  • A woman's ideal figure, using Jennifer Lopez and Mother Love as contrasting examples.
  • Whether a scallop is a shellfish.

Sequels and spin-offs

Calvin cutting a customer's hair in a scene from Barbershop.
In 2004, MGM released the sequel Barbershop 2: Back in Business. All of the original cast returned, but director Tim Story did not. This movie was directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan. In the same year, Billie Woodruff directed a spin-off film entitled Beauty Shop, with Queen Latifah as the lead (Latifah's character made her debut in Barbershop 2). Beauty Shop, was pushed back from a late summer 2004 release, finally reached theaters in February 2005.

During the fall of 2005, State Street and Ice Cube debuted Barbershop: The Series on the Showtime cable network, with Omar Gooding taking over Ice Cube's role of Calvin. The character "Dinka" is renamed "Yinka" on Barbershop: The Series, as "Dinka" is not a typical Nigerian name. In addition, Isaac's last name is changed from "Rosenberg" to "Brice", and the character Ricky has been replaced by a more hardened ex-con, Romadal.


A soundtrack containing hip hop and R&B music was released on August 27, 2002 by Interscope Records. It peaked at #29 on the Billboard 200 and #9 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.


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