HOLLYWOOD—It has been quite some time since Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Eve and a host of others brought tons of laughs and made it apparent that a visit to the barbershop isn’t just about getting a fresh haircut. Well the entire gang and some fresh faces are back for “Barbershop: The Next Cut.” The flick sees Calvin (Cube) doing his best to keep his barbershop afloat amidst a financial crisis and violence epidemic.
The movie does balance its comedy with tackling the national epidemic of gun violence exploding in the urban communities. Not just at the hands of police officers fatally shooting unarmed African-American males, but black-on-black crime. Its powerful, its innovative and something that should be more of an open forum discussion in our everyday lives, especially African-Americans.
The barbershop is no longer the place of solace for men to chat about all their female problems because Calvin has manifested his shop into a unisex (barbershop/salon) with Angie (Regina Hall) because of a slump in the economic downturn. Calvin finds himself dealing with a rebellious teenage son Jalen, who is becoming intrigued by the gang lifestyle. The quick money, the dangerous lifestyle and street credibility are influential to a kid who finds his father a bit distant and too tough at times.
“Barbershop: The Next Cut” is a battle of the sexes. The guys complain about issues of true beauty, while the women complain about issues of men not able to take care of home and failing to perform domestic work. Comedy is brought to the movie courtesy of Common, Lamorne Morris, Eve, Nicki Minaj, Anthony Anderson, Jazmin Lewis, J.B. Smoove and Sean Patrick Thomas to name a few.
It’s funny to watch the love triangle between Draya (Minaj) and Terri (Eve) and Rashad (Common); While Terri and Rashad are married, it’s no secret that Terri is the breadwinner in the household, which is causing a bit of friction. To make matters worse, Draya is doing everything in her power to get Rashad’s attention, which doesn’t bold well with Terri.
Issues of cultural differences emerge between the Blacks in the shop and the one Indian barber who does his best to get his point across about issues of violence and ways to discover a solution.
“The Next Cut” is not afraid to address serious issues, and to not sugarcoat the problem. Such issues including education, private vs. public and conversations involving President Barack Obama and his impact or non-impact on the African-American culture as a whole, is not out of the question. The lack of strong father figures, parenting skills, financial problems, maternal figures and so much more are also plighted in the movie. Does “Barbershop” at times feel a bit preachy, yes, but it’s done so in all good fun to raise the eyebrows of the spectators.
What I found so fun about “Barbershop: The Next Cut” is its ability to really suture the audience into the narrative. You become enamored with these characters and the plight they encounter and it’s a treat to watch all of that unfold. For this film to be pegged as a comedy, it sure delivers a lot more heart and drama than one would expect.