Genre: Comedy, Drama
Starring: Ice Cube, Common, Cedric The Entertainer, Eve, Regina Hall, Anthony Anderson, Nicki Minaj, Margot Bingham, Utkarsh Ambudkar, J.B Smoove, Lamorne Morris, Deon Cole.
Year Of Release: 2016
Certificate: 12A (UK)
Runtime: 111 Minutes
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Synopsis: “As their surrounding community has taken a turn for the worse, the crew at Calvin’s Barbershop come together to bring some much needed change to their neighborhood.” IMDB
When another trip to the “Barbershop” was announced I was a little apprehensive, I mean 1 and 2 were brilliant but “Beauty Shop” was a blemish on the franchise. That being said apprehensions were quickly thrown aside when I seen the first trailer, I was flooded with the nostalgic vibes of the first two in my early teens.
Nearly a decade and half after Calvin (Ice Cube) and the his crew exploded onto the big screen cutting hair and throwing quips at each other, they are back this time with a relevant and daily worry for some people in parts of the US, gang violence. His barbershop is situated on the South Side of Chicago where two rival gangs are extremely trigger happy without a care who they harm in the process. After finally having enough of the events surrounding their shop, Calvin and the team decide after the suggestion of Jerrod (Lamorne Morris) to make the shop a neutral spot and ask rivalling gangs to have a ceasefire for 48 hours in return for free trips to the barbershop and connected beauty shop.
Once again there is another stellar casting job in this franchise, every film in this series has been so perfectly cast it is second to none really in the ensemble world. The addition of Regina Hall, Common, Deon Cole, J B Smoove and Lamorne Morris were brilliant heck even Nicki Minaj was surprisingly good, that being said it is not just the new additions to the cast that shine Cedric The Entertainer is on top of his game yet again delivering some of the funniest lines in the film as he has done across the franchise. Not only do the cast deliver great comedic but they still manage to turn on their emotional range when needed and at times they really need to given the subject matter. Stand out performers in the newbie category are Common who brings a deep source of drama and Lamorne Morris (New Girl) who delivers the comedic perfection you have come to expect from him when watching “New Girl”.
On the note of “subject matter” the story of the film is a very relevant one given the situation in some places in the US, of which I can’t even begin to imagine being thousands of miles away. The core of the films story is based around gang violence and living in constant fear if they will catch a stray bullet just going to work. Even with the overlying element of such despair and violence writers Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver do a beautiful job of blending in laughs and feel good moments. The wonderful blend of the two results in a great feel good film that will also tug HARD on your heartstrings, for the laughs the film delivers it never forgets the gravity of the surrounding events. Even the scenes of real threat are not brushed under the rug with jokes, they are tense there is a scene when two opposing gang members end up in the barbershop together and it gets intense and you can feel the tension in the room.
Overall, I found the film found a great middle ground between getting a cross the point of gang violence to the rest of the world but not letting it take over the comedy you expect in a “Barbershop” film. Even with the message the film doesn’t become preachy and whenever it comes close to it, Barris & Oliver wrote it in a way that they seamlessly transition to a softer tone. At the end of the day it’s exactly what you expect from a “Barbershop” film, lots of laughs with a life lesson, a huge leap ahead of the Comedy films today with no heart. So if you are looking for a film an easy watch that is refreshing and heartwarming, you can not go wrong with “Barbershop: The Next Cut”, it really is a cut above the rest, sorry!