Barbershop: The Next Cut

Barbershop: The Next Cut

Director: Malcolm D. Lee

Writers: Kenya Barris, Tracy Oliver, Mark Brown

Cast: Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Regina Hall, Anthony Anderson, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve, Jazsmin Lewis, J.B. Smoove, Common, Nicki Minaj, Lamorne Morris, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Margot Bingham, Deon Cole, Troy Garity

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.

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual material and language

Stevennix2001's Rating:

6 / 10

Pros:

  • Acting was fairly decent. Although most of these actors were basically playing themselves anyway, but it wasn't too bad. Besides, it's not like any of these films were meant to be Oscar contenders.
  • While not the best movie to tackle a serious subject like gang violence, it does handle the message quite well without the need to talk down to it's audience. It still manages to show the heavy tragedy often associated with gangs of today, but it almost manages to show how even in tough times there's always a bit of hope.
  • Direction was fairly decent.

Cons:

  • While the acting wasn't too bad in the movie, it still doesn't excuse the fact that Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Nicki Minaj, Common, Regina Hall and etc were basically playing themselves in this movie, so I'd hardly call any of their performances great.
  • Ice Cube's character goes through a similar arc that makes this film series redundant considering he's always contemplating whether or not to close shop, and move in each film. But to be fair, each time is often for a different reason, and it does convey a strong moral about how important it is to work things out rather than run away from a problem.
  • Humor is hit or miss; largely depending on your own personal tastes.
  • The movie tends to drag a lot because it focuses too much on the barbershop talk hijinks that it takes up the majority of the run time.

A reflection on the whole trilogy of Barbershop thus far.

The "Barbershop" franchise has come a long way since it's humble beginnings. The first movie tackled a man, who was struggling with the concept of living up to his father's legacy. The second film dealt with the concept of small businesses (i.e. mom and pop stores) versus the giant corporations of America. Now, "Barbershop: The Next Cut" deals with something as serious as gang violence. Yup, it's certainly come a long way.

I'm just going to sum up my thoughts, as there's really not a lot to analyze about this film. If you've seen a lot of after school TV specials on gang violence, then chances are you already know how this film plays out. While the movie does tackle a serious issue like this, it's also interesting to note that Ice Cube's character is forced to face the same dilemma that he had in the previous outings; whether or not he should close the barbershop to pursue other opportunities.

Granted, the reasons were always different, but it's still the same issue being brought up each time. In the first film, it was because he wanted to live out his own dream rather than carrying on his father's legacy, by maintaining a struggling barbershop. In the second, he was forced to deal with the same issue only because he wasn't sure if whether or not taking a huge buyout would lead to a better life for his family. Or if he had stayed to compete, he wasn't sure if his small barbershop could compete with a major haircut franchise. And in this latest outing, he's forced to deal with the issue again if only because he's not sure if the neighborhood is safe anymore to raise his son.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, as we all tend to reflect on choices we make all the time. But the continuing pattern within these films tends to suggest an underlining meaning that can't be ignored. That underlining message being that sometimes life can be tough. Sometimes sticking it out to do what's right can often feel like a drag, as we can often feel like it keeps us from our goals in life. Or how much easier it is to run away from a problem rather than facing it head on. Each time Ice Cube's character had to deal with the issue of whether or not to stay were valid concerns, as anyone would've contemplated leaving given the circumstances of the previous films.

In fact, most sane people wouldn't have condemned him for taking the easy way out either. However, that's not what the "Barbershop" franchise is about. In it's own quirky way, it tries to convey the message that even in times of hardships that it's all the more reason to stand your ground, and try to improve things head on rather than run away from the issues. Sure, it may not always be the most glamorous route, but it can be rewarding over time.

While I can't say any of the "Barbershop" films were particularly well written, they all had their own unique charm that conveyed that message quite well; in spite of it becoming a bit redundant at this point.

Granted, the film does tend to drag, as the movie will sometimes focus too much on the barbershop talk hijinks to fill up the film's running time. Not to mention the fact that the humor can often be hit or miss.

But apart from these issues, "Barbershop: The Next Cut" isn't a bad movie per se, and it's definitely worth watching if you're willing to check it out on Redbox. However, I wouldn't pay money to see any of these films in theaters.

© 2016 Steven Escareno

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