The Village Barbershop 

Since Boise is painfully underutilized as a setting for modern movies, it's kind of exciting when someplace familiar, like Reno, Nev., shows up in a film once in a while. And it's especially nice when the story told therein is a sweet one with relatable and interesting characters.

Old-timer Art Leroldi (John Ratzenberger, TV's Cheers) is in a financial and emotional hole after his oldest friend, business partner and fellow barber, Enzo, passes away. When his strip mall landlord gets gruff about the rent coming due, man's man Art does the unthinkable and hires a young female beautician (Shelly Cole, TV's Gilmore Girls) to fill the void—an act that throws his life and barbershop into utter chaos.

The film itself is cute. Despite some overacting from peripheral actors, Ratzenberger and Cole own their characters. They immediately feel like people you've known forever. First time feature writer/director/producer Chris J. Ford is a Reno native, having attended University of Nevada, Reno. One may not realize it until after exploring the meager DVD special features, but Art is an amalgam of many men Ford knows, and the real Village Barbershop is where he used to get trims.

As a rookie director, Ford displays relative mastery in storytelling. And who, other than perhaps himself and Ford, could've possibly known that John Ratzenberger has serious acting range? His performance here is a gem—sweet and funny, yet very sincere.

It's both smart and simple, and I definitely recommend this title.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.

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