Fourteen years have passed since we saw the Calvin’s crew so Barbershop: The Next Cut almost has a reboot feel to it with our old favorites and some new players in the mix. Ice Cube and Cedric the Entertainer reprise their roles as Calvin and Eddie who are joined by franchise newcomers Common, J.B. Smoove and Nicki Minaj among others. Calvin has merged with the Beauty Shop next door and has a new partner in Angie (Reginal Hall). The new and improved gang still know how to make you laugh, but it’s not all jokes in the new film as the neighborhood is under constant threat of gang violence that at times even spills into the shop.
There may be some new employees at the shop, but the comedy style of Barbershop: The Next Cut is still in fashion. The best scenes of the film still revolve around the simple conversations that escalate into social commentary. Having the men and women share the same space creates the battle of the sexes and allowing the ladies to have their voice heard as well. The scene stealer as always is Cedric the Entertainer as the wise cracking old man Eddie who has seen it all. The man can make you crack up with a just a funky stare. Some of the funniest scenes and jokes revolve around Eddie in Barbershop: The Next Cut. Cedric even gets to show off his serious side at times being the moral compass for Calvin when it comes to tough decisions.
The new installment in the Barbershop franchise does get bogged down with such a large cast and trying to give everyone enough screen time. A clichéd love triangle involving the characters played by Eve, Nicki Minaj and Common is your stereotypical subplot with neglected spouses and the jealously that can occur with marriage. The romance angle doesn’t fit in with the rest of the film and slows the pace in the second and third acts. This unfortunately takes away from the story that matters in Barbershop: The Next Cut, which focuses on Calvin trying to keep both his families (work and home) safe in the community they live in.
Barbershop: The Next Cut is both a love letter and an angry response to the city of Chicago. A lot has changed on the South Side of Chicago since Ice Cube’s Barbershop franchise was last seen on the big screen with 2004’s Barbershop 2: Back in Business (We won’t count 2005’s spinoff Beauty Shop that took place in Atlanta). The Second City has seen an increased level of violence and the new installment in the franchise mirrors the struggles of its citizens, while still trying to make you laugh and think along the way. Barbershop: The Next Cut is not perfect, but it has some funny and meaningful moments leading up to its predictable ending.
Overall, I give Barbershop: The Next Cut 2.75 out of 4 stars.
Read all my reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell