Barbershop: The Next Cut
Barbershop: The Next Cut
By Wilson Morales
With so many remakes, reboots and a boatload of comic book and animated films, here comes another installment of a franchise many probably didn’t expect to live on.
Although Barbershop 2: Back in Business was mildly successful, having made a profit but less than the original film, it would be more than 10 years later when a third film would be produced and back in theaters.
With Barbershop: The Next Cut, not only is this the best of the three, but it packs in plenty of drama and comedy to entertain and educate audiences across the board.
From Malcolm D. Lee’s direction to the writing of Blackish’s Kenya Barris and Tracey Oliver, the film is filled with laughter and intensity that works because of the chemistry of the ensemble.
Since the original Barbershop (2002) and its sequel, Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004), a lot has happened in Chicago and Calvin Palmer Jr. (Ice Cube). Now a city infested with crime to the point where folks are afraid to come out, Calvin is grasping at maintaining a healthy environment for his family, including his teenage son. While he still runs the barbershop with his sidekick Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer) still running his mouth and not looking to retire, he also went into partnership with Angie (Regina Hall) and expanded the shop to include her beauty salon. Some of the old barbers from the past are still around including Terri (Eve), who’s becoming a barber to the stars and who holds the family down while married to Rashad (Common), another barber. Together, they are raising two kids, including Rashad’s son, who is best friends with Calvin’s son, Jalen (Michael Rainey Jr.).
When Terri’s not at the shop, Calvin has to deal with his other employees, including Raja (Utkarsh Ambudkar), the Indian barber, Jarrod ( “New Girl”‘s Lamorne Morris) the new and wise cutter, and One-Stop (J.B. Smoove), a jack-of-all-trades with many side hustles. Over at Angie’s side are Bree (Margot Bingham), the black feminist who’s been recently dumped by her ex, and Dreya (Nicki Minaj), the curvy, bra-showing, money making sista who may or may not have the hots for Rashad.
Like any other barbershop, every topic from sports, women, men, sex, Barack Obama and politics are talked about with different views coming from everyone, but the one topic that is staring all in their faces is the heavy crime rate that’s happening right there in their neighborhood. At one point, everyone has to duck down when shots are fired outside the shop. With Jalen and Rashad’s son getting into trouble due to the gang violence in their school and around home, Calvin and the rest of the folk attempt to do a “Cease Fire” weekend so that they can have peace with deaths for a change. Will it work or will the violence continue is a tall task.
With this film, Lee has injected some relevant and cultural issues that’s currently happening in the real world, while also pacing it with laugh out loud moments to keep the themes balanced. The Chicago from 2004 is certainly not the Chicago of today and Lee invokes that fact in the film. It’s great to see that Ice Cube and Cedric the Entertainment haven’t lost any the chemistry they established in the previous film. Cedric is one-man show, constantly raising the laugh meter to another level with his jokes.
One of the silliest moments from the first film was the ATM bank sequence with Anthony Anderson, but with great writing coming from Barris and Oliver, they were able to bring him back along with other familiar faces and weaved them in the film without going overboard with many plots. It’s the writing that main component why this film thrives. Between Calvin dealing with his shop, his family drama, Terri and Rashad’s marriage, and rapper Nicki Minaj’s “can’t take my eyes off of you” scenes, this film could have easily been disjointed, but the writers have pulled it off. Everyone has their moment to shine, including Lamorne Morris, who practically is the scene stealer. Simply put, Barbershop: The Next Cut is savvy, engaging, emotional and downright funny.