Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Barbershop: The Next Cut Review

Barbershop: The Next Cut Review
Believe it or not, I am actually a huge fan of the first "Barbershop." 

Its so confident, so hilarious and so entertaining that I find it hard not to give myself over to it. Its full of memorable moments and wonderful performances by a wide ensemble of actors. I had high hopes for the sequel, "Barbershop 2: Back In Business." But I felt it was a typical sequel. A bigger version of the first film, just treading water for money. It was fine, it just didn't work on the level that the first film did.

I think "Barbershop: The Final Cut" is the sequel that should have came after the first film. Yes, it features the same struggles and themes as the previous movies. But it feels much more confident, much more hilarious and much more entertaining than the first sequel. Once again, it has several memorable moments. Once again, it has wonderful performances by a wide ensemble of actors. Some are reprising their roles, others are newbies to this storyline, but they all do good work across the board. I also think it helps the story to plant it in the middle of something very relevant to what is happening in Chicago today. 

Calvin (Ice Cube) has spent the last ten years in the barbershop business. He has seen some incredible highs and just as many lows. But instead of worrying about losing his beloved barbershop, he's worried about something more, his children. His son Jalen (Michael Rainey Jr) is a teenager, and he's on the tip of getting into the gang life. Calvin doesn't want that for his son and he'll do anything for it not to happen. Even if that means moving to a different barbershop in a safer part of the city. But his co-workers are in the midst of noticing the massive gang violence that is plaguing the city. They want to do a weekend "cease-fire" which will allow for free haircuts and time for gangs to talk about their problems, instead of handling them with a gun.

This may sound like heavy material, and there is no question that the movie signals the importance of its themes. Shootings are so commonplace that nobody seems surprised by them when they see them on the news anymore. Its especially alarming when it seems like very little is ever being done to right these wrongs. I think "Barbershop: The Next Cut" would be a perfect double feature with Spike Lee's "Chi-raq." Both films deal in comedy and satire, but underneath the gags, these are angry movies, relevant movies, movies that are begging you to wake up and see the big picture. Its hard not to be drawn to that kind of power.

As before, my favorite part of these movies is Cedric the Entertainer. He has the best material and he makes sure to let it all shine. Whether he's making you laugh or sharing a tender moment with Calvin, Cedric the Entertainer absolutely steals scene after scene. The entire cast does splendid work, between Regina Hall, Anthony Anderson, Eve and Common, its hard to find a favorite. I am even shocked to report that Nicky Minaj wasn't the headache-educing presence I thought she'd be. 

The film still wraps up like you'd expect it to. But there is no denying that "Barbershop: The Final Cut" has something very important on its mind, and I liked how it embraced its themes and storylines. I also applaud how it still kept things funny and moving while it did it. If you've enjoyed this series so far, this isn't a bad entry.

FINAL GRADE: B 

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