Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Cast: Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Regina Hall, Common, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve, Anthony Anderson, Jaszmine Lewis, JB Smoove, Nicki Minaj
Release Date: April 15th, 2016
Snowden First Trailer
Barbershop: The Next Cut is one of the most powerful comedies I’ve seen in recent years. This film — the third in the Barbershop series — doesn’t simply settle for small laughs or easy guffaws. It dares to deliver more and in taking on the tough subject of gun violence on the Chicago streets, pharmacy the script by Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver offers a powerful message that hopefully will resonate across the country.
Ice Cube stars here as Calvin, web
the gruff but respectable owner of a barbershop on the South Side of Chicago. Like many from that community, Calvin is fed up by the constant gun violence on the streets and the fact that he doesn’t feel safe in his own neighborhood anymore. “The streets are talking,” he says, “they’re tired and angry.” So too are many of his employees and his customers, who have watched in horror as violence has found a permanent home in the windy city.
A “No guns allowed” sign on the barbershop wall would seem shocking, if it didn’t feel like it belonged. When shootings are taking place up and down his street, the sign doesn’t feel like the results of a temporary impulse of a paranoid shop owner. It feels like the necessary result of a reality check.
After the barbershop employees lament the safety of the streets, Calvin’s crew — which includes the wisecracking Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), the impulsive Rashad (Common) and Calvin’s hopeful business partner Angie (Regina Hall) — opt to do something. They decide to offer free haircuts for the neighborhood and seek a temporary truce between two rival gang leaders. For a weekend, all they ask is that there’s no gun violence on the streets.
The comedy may have high ideals but the chemistry in this crew remains the same with the employees still teasing each other with abandon. Although some of the language is a bit crude, it’s fun and entertaining to watch their personalities mix it up on topics ranging from the legacy of President Obama to the different price tags Draya (Nicki Minaj) offers her clients. There are several sequences that take place out of the barbershop but this is a film that thrives comedically when this stellar ensemble is together.
Even though each of the characters offers a few funny lines, the standout for me was Lamorne Morris, who plays Jerrod, one of the barbers in the shop. Morris, so hilarious as Winston on FOX’s New Girl, seems willing to give this supporting character his all and does it with a few hilarious results.
Mixed in with the barbershop’s journey is the personal journey that Calvin takes as a father. Calvin’s son Jalen (Michael Rainey Jr.) sees violence on the streets on a daily basis and becomes intrigued when a gang — that has protected him in the past — seems interested in him. While the events at the barbershop speak to a higher purpose, Calvin’s relationship with his son brings a real personal dimension into the comedy.
As a shop owner, Calvin wants to protect his neighborhood but as a father, he simply wants to protect his son and if that means leaving his business and moving to a better area, so be it.
Admittedly, Barbershop: The Next Cut has its issues. A storyline about Draya wanting to break up a marriage feels stilted and unnecessary. There are also plenty of jokes that fall flat during the proceedings (at times, the film is more admirable than amusing) but there’s a great electricity watching this cast play off of one another. It’s hard not to smile at some of the jokes here but the story’s greatest achievement though may be its ability to speak deeply and passionately about a real issue at the same time that it doesn’t become burdened by its own sense of purpose.
Review by: John Hanlon