Review: Back In the Chair for Barbershop: The Next Cut

Posted by at 9:30 pm on April 15, 2016

barbershopheaderWhen you come back to a beloved place after many years, sometimes you find all the faces have changed and the vibe is completely different. The world has so much since the first Barbershop movie premiered in 2002, that it’s comforting to know Calvin Palmer Jr. is still cutting hair in the barbershop he inherited from his pops on the South Side of Chicago.

The third film in this franchise comes a dozen years after part two, and “Barbershop: The Next Cut” is as colorful and clever as its predecessors, with some new faces and a fresh story. Ice Cube returns as Calvin, proprietor of the barbershop, where he oversees a motley crew of haircutters who spend as much time boasting and bantering as they do snipping and styling. Perpetual scene-stealer Cedric the Entertainer returns as outspoken old-timer Eddie, and Eve is back as sharp-tongued Terri, once the shop’s lone female hairdresser.

824A7730.dngThe crew also includes Terri’s husband and Calvin’s friend Rashad (Common), opinionated Raja (Utkarsh Ambudkar), neurotic Jerrod (Lemorne Morris, even funnier here than on TV’s “New Girl”), and man-of-many-hustles One-Stop (J.B. Smoove), who offers haircuts, health exams, fake IDs and other services from his barber chair. They share the shop with a new business partner, Angie (Regina Hall), and her team of stylists, including spandex-clad Draya (Minaj) and unlucky-in-love Bree (Margot Bingham) many of whom came into the shop in the second film of the series, Beauty Shop.

The film opens with Calvin’s voiceover about the explosion of violence in the city. “The streets are talking,” he says. “They’re tired. They’re angry.” Chicago had the most homicides of any U.S. city last year, and it’s on track to earn that sad distinction again in 2016. More than 140 people have been killed there so far this year.

barbershopheader2Calvin worries about how the surge in violence is affecting his 14-year-old son, Jalen (Michael Rainey Jr.), who’s getting into fights at school and considering joining a gang. Calvin is also concerned about the effects on his business, especially when former barber and now mayoral aide Jimmy (Sean Patrick Thomas) tells him about a proposal to stem South Side violence by building a wall around the neighborhood.

The shop responds by sponsoring a 48-hour cease-fire. They convince two rival gang leaders, both customers, to get on board. Word gets out, and Calvin’s experiment attracts TV reporters and local celebs. There are smiles, there are tears, there’s good will. But behind the scenes, there’s evil: The gangs continue an aggressive recruitment drive aimed at Calvin’s son Jalen (Michael Rainey Jr.).

Barbershop: The Next Cut ends with an inspiring call to individual action. But as Calvin concedes, the problems he faces are so entrenched, so systemic, so complex, there is very little any one person can do to make a real difference. “The Next Cut” manages to address racism, sexism, police brutality and gang violence in a thoughtful way without being heavy-handed and leaves you with an overall positive feeling.

Rating- Four Out of Five Stars

four out five stars

Barbershop: The Next Cut Cast and Crew Info

Release date: April 15, 2016 (USA)
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Film series: Barbershop
Distributed by: Warner Bros.
Producers: Ice Cube, Robert Teitel, George Tillman, Jr.
Stars: Ice Cube,Common,Cedric the Entertainer,Regina Hall,Nikki Minaj

 

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