Barbershop: Special Edition (2002)

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Released 18-Feb-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Final Cut
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Set, Press And Style
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Finishing Touches
Featurette-Hairdo's And Dont's
Deleted Scenes-7, With Optional Commentary
Theatrical Trailer
Music Video-Trade It All
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 98:05 (Case: 102)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (077:30) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Tim Story

Starring Ice Cube
Anthony Anderson
Cedric The Entertainer
Sean Patrick Thomas
Troy Garity
Michael Ealy
Leonard Earl Howze
Keith David
Jazsmin Lewis
Lahmard J. Tate
Tom Wright
Jason Winston George
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Terence Blanchard
Ice Cube

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Barbershop was a surprise hit in the United States back in 2002; nobody really expected a comedy made by, starring, and about inner-city African-Americans to have much wider appeal. But thanks to a strong ensemble cast, solid work behind the camera, and a little bit of controversy, this film found a home in the hearts of black and white audiences alike. Some of us in Australia may not be up on the political and historical material this film touches on, but its basic strengths still make it thoroughly entertaining.

    Calvin Palmer, Jr. (Ice Cube) is a frustrated dreamer, constantly trying to lever himself out of running the ghetto barbershop he inherited from his father, and into an easy life of record-studio riches. One morning, his latest scheme having fallen through, Calvin agrees to sell the shop to shady local businessman Lester Wallace (Keith David), who wants to turn it into a strip club. As the day unfolds, however, Calvin comes to realise the value of what he has just given away. The barbershop is a place for his community to meet, laugh, and talk fearlessly about anyone or anything. It’s a link to a living past, represented by elderly barber Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), and to a better future for reforming youths like Ricky Nash (Michael Ealy). But Lester won’t sell the shop back for anything less than twice what he paid for it – and Calvin has only until seven p.m. to get the money. Can he do it?

    Plot is less important here than atmosphere: the story is just a way to package a day in the shop into a movie. While a subplot about two numbskull thieves (Anthony Anderson and Lahmard Tate) trying to open their 400-pound stolen ATM has its moments, it is inside the barbershop that the film really comes to life. The large cast have an easy camaraderie, and their wandering, hilarious, sometimes outrageous conversations embrace everything from how to distinguish a “woman with a big ass” from a “big-ass woman”, to whether Rosa Parks really deserves credit for launching the civil rights movement. This last topic was edgy enough to ensure that a few humourless types called for the scene to be cut; the resulting publicity helped ensure this movie was a success. Ultimately, the film works because the barbershop is a place you want to be: full of good conversation, great music, and a developing sense of maturity and self-respect.

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Transfer Quality


   This is an attractive transfer, with a few non-intrusive flaws.

   The aspect ratio is 1.78:1, essentially identical to the theatrical ratio, and the transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

   Barbershop is a great-looking movie, especially given its bargain-basement budget of US$12 million, and it has made the translation to DVD in pretty good style. The picture is sharp and clear, and the many scenes that take place in dark or shadowy rooms show a lot of shadow detail. There is a visible grain to the image, fine but constant; this is a property of the film, rather than the transfer, and is only really severe at 65:40.

   Colours are bright and plentiful, from Lester Wallace’s supremely sharp powder-blue suit through to the gorgeous red of the roses that rotund West African barber Dinka (Leonard Earl Howze) gives to lovelorn colleague Terri (Eve). There are no colour artefacts.

   There are some MPEG artefacts, though. Aliasing is a recurrent problem, particularly on the brickwork at 5:21, the blinds at 6:24 and 12:36, and Cedric the Entertainer’s glasses throughout. Moire effects appear on the bricks at 5:23, and on Ice Cube’s beret at 28:24, 40:26, 56:35 and 91:44. And the print from which this transfer was taken was not quite pristine: a small white fleck will appear somewhere on the screen every minute or two. None of these problems is severe enough to distract from the film.

   The subtitles are well placed, readable, and accurate – and there’s a subtitle stream for the commentary track, too! It’s good to see a studio make such an effort for their hearing-impaired customers.

   This is an RSDL disc with the layer change at 77:30, reasonably positioned on a cut between two scenes.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


   This is a nice, if unadventurous, transfer of a dialogue-focussed soundtrack.

   There are two audio tracks on this disc: a default English Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at 448Kb/s, and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 commentary track encoded at 224Kb/s.

   Dialogue is the centre of this film, and it comes across beautifully in this transfer. You may still have no idea what the heck Cedric the Entertainer is saying, but you’d be no better off if he were in the room with you. The commentary was also very clear, the different participants being easily distinguishable and always intelligible.

   There were no problems with audio sync whatsoever; the integration of ADR with original on-set dialogue is superb.

   There is no original score for this film, but rather a soundtrack of hip-hop, soul and funk put together by Terence Blanchard and edited by Todd Bozung. Apart from the fairly anodyne track over the opening credits, Trade It All (Part 2) by Fabolous, the music is terrific, and an integral part of the movie. Usually a background texture to the dialogue, the music sometimes takes over completely – as when Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give It Up (Part 1) defuses a fight and brings the whole neighbourhood to a stop at 67:19. At these times the music fills the room nicely, subtly supported by the surrounds.

   Those surrounds won’t see much use otherwise, though. This is a very front-heavy transfer, as befits a low-action film about people talking to one another. There were some missed opportunities for surround usage – it would have been nice, for instance, to spread some of the barbershop voices around the room in certain scenes – but gosh-wow sound effects aren’t really what this movie is about.

   The lack of explosive action also diminishes the call on your subwoofer, although it certainly gets plenty of work supporting the bass-heavy music from, for instance, white barber Isaac Rosenberg’s (Troy Garrity) tricked-out SUV.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Spurred by unexpected theatrical success, MGM have put together a substantial set of extras for such a small film – and some of these are actually worth your time!


    The menu system is very attractively designed, replicating the moving photocollage style of the opening credits. It is 16x9 enhanced, and is accompanied by musical cues from the film.

Commentary track – Tim Story (Director), Robert Teitel (Producer), George Tillman, Jr (Producer) and Don Scott (Writer)

    This is a pretty good track – full of amusing anecdotes and quite detailed information on the work and thoughts that went into the film. The participants have a good rapport, and they keep talking with nary a break for the whole length of the film. If I had one complaint, it was that they didn’t adequately address the controversy stirred by some of the film’s critics. It would have been nice to hear what they really thought about Jesse Jackson, for instance, whose associates were so offended by his unfavourable mention in the “Rosa Parks” scene. Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, it’s always clear and easy to listen to.

Featurette: The Final Cut (18:47)

   Focussing on the director, the actors and their characters, this is a reasonable, if not especially informative, little feature. Although it uses quite a bit of footage from the film, it is of somewhat lower quality, suffering from more aliasing, some colour artefacts, moire, and macro-blocking problems. The same image problems affect the other featurettes, although they are never a distraction.

Featurette: Set, Press & Style (6:04)

   A lot of work went into creating the barbershop from scratch, but making it feel like an old and lived-in place at the same time. The set designer explains how, in this quite interesting short.

Featurette: Finishing Touches (5:54)

   The costume designer explains how she sought to capture the essence of each character in their clothes. Worth a look!

Featurette: Hairdos & Don’ts (7:01)

   By far the most enjoyable of the featurettes, this one involved interviews with both the cast and crew, and with a number of real-life barbers. The highs and lows of African-American hairstyles of the past twenty years, from the Shag to the Fade, via Gumby and the Jheri-Curl, provide a great deal of interest, amusement, and even shame from some of the participants.

Deleted Scenes

   These seven very short deleted scenes were all well cut from the film; none of them is bad, but none of them is necessary. They serve to introduce characters already well-introduced elsewhere (You Want Boom-Boom? (1:27) and Ricky’s Routine (0:42)), to provide some additional character beats for Ice Cube and Cedric the Entertainer (You Know We In The Ghetto (0:33), You Ain’t Right With Jesus (0:53), All I Need Is $18,900 (1:14) and Just Give Me A Sign (0:58)), and to wring a little extra comedy out of Anthony Anderson (You Smell Chicken? (0:52)). Optional commentary by director Tim Story makes clear why each one failed to make the final cut. The scenes are 16x9 enhanced, but of a generally lower visual quality than the film itself, and are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0.

Outtakes (4:57)

   A not-very-funny set of fluffs and improvisations. The director considered running these under the closing credits, but was wise not to do so – most of the best improvised material was cut into the film anyway, and the remainder is not really worth your time.

Trailer (2:06)

   A very nice transfer for a fairly ordinary trailer. 16x9 enhanced, with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Music Video – Trade It All (4:42)

   A middling transfer of a thoroughly average music video. Have you never seen Fubu-wearing rappers ogle copious babes while blathering about how tough they are? Here’s your chance! 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Photo Gallery – Cast (0:52), From The Film (1:00), Behind The Scenes (0:40)

   A fairly unenlightening set of images.

Barber College Interactive Game

   The packaging claims this feature is present, but I was unable to find it.


    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

      The Region 2 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     While the Region 1 version doesn’t suffer from the minor film artefacts that affect the Region 4 version, the two transfers are otherwise identical. Given the slightly higher quality of PAL, and the inconsequential nature of the extras we miss out on, there’s no reason not to go with the Region 4 version. Avoid Region 2!


    Barbershop is an amiable film that infuses its comedy with heart and soul, packing a surprising amount of social observation and political comment.

   The video quality is largely very good, despite some minor artefacts.

   The audio quality is very good.

   The extras are more than you would expect for a film like this – more, in fact, than the film really needs.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tennant Reed
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS730P, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE500E projecting onto 100" screen. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR601 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensen SPX-7 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 centre and rear centre, Jensen SPX-4 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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