BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT
It’s been more than 10 years since our last appointment at Calvin’s Barbershop. Calvin (Ice Cube) and his longtime crew, including Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), are still there, but the shop has undergone some major changes. Most noticeably, our once male-dominated sanctuary is now co-ed. The ladies bring their own flavor, drama and gossip to the shop challenging the fellas at every turn. Despite the good times and camaraderie within the shop, the surrounding community has taken a turn for the worse, forcing Calvin and our crew to come together to not only save the shop, but their neighborhood.
REVIEW: Ice Cube (Ride Along 2, 2015) returns as Calvin Jr., a successful small-business owner who’s married, has a teenage son Jalen (Michael Rainey Jr.), and is still trying to keep the wild bunch at the barbershop in check. This time, with the exception of Terri (Eve) and Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), the shop crew is very much new, including Calvin’s best friend, Rashad (Common [Run All Night, 2015]), nerdy Jerrod (Lamorne Morris [New Girl – TV series]), “Bollyhood” barber Raja (Utkarsh Ambudkar [Pitch Perfect, 2012]), with entrepreneurial One-Stop (J.B. Smoove [Top Five, 2014]), nutty Breemoo [Margot Bingham [Boardwalk Empire – TV series]) and uncensored Draya (Nicki Minaj [The Other Woman, 2014]) plus Dante (Deon Cole [Black-ish – TV series]). Consequently, the relationships and atmosphere, in this latest release feels very fresh, very much ghetto-style funny while most contemporary involving the progressive thinking of Bree and dorky Jerrod (who essentially is the low-key MVP of the film, and is a definite comedic standout).
The plot is a sorta’ rambling, loose-knit-kinda’ thing that some may find a bit preachy and idealistic, however, the essence of it is something that we all can relate to on some level. It is the gun violence that seems to have gotten worse in recent times; most notably in Chicago and throughout the country. So, there is genuine meaning in the pitch and certainly it has real relevance to today’s headlines and 24hr news cycles.
What I believe makes this latest effort work is the same thing that worked for the original “Barbershop”: energetic and vivacious characters cracking on each other, telling stories, and discussing the problems of their community and America in general. They touch the subjects of guns, racism, the police, while name-checking the men and boys who have sadly become symbols (Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, etc.). Just as affectively, the women offer their perspective on the ongoing battle between “the good girls and the hoes” (some of which plays out right there in the barbershop), and about hair weaves and fake buttocks. And certainly not surprising, Cedric’s elderly, cantankerous, but lovable character Eddie earns some sidesplitting laughs - joking about how much worse things used to be, claiming to have almost been lynched on two occasions: professing that the first time, they couldn’t tie the knot and the second time, the tree wasn’t tall enough. Lol.
Overall, “Barbershop: The Next Cut” combines the broad comedy that moviegoers have come to expect from the franchise with social commentary that’s surprisingly effective and relevant. Three and a half stars out of five are well deserved here and if going to the theaters are in the plans, well then this one is worth checking out.
By Movi-Man Stan
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