I know I don’t watch the news much, but… I’m on Facebook a lot, I’m on Youtube a lot, and I’m surrounded by people who are much more attuned to the happenings in the streets outside of my comfy Calabasas middle class home. But seriously, how in the name of Zeus’ dick-hole… did I miss the riots outside of the studios of Hollywood that clearly demanded a sequel to BARBERSHOP?!
Alright, to be fair, there was indeed a sequel to BARBERSHOP a couple years after the first one called BACK IN BUSINESS, and then the spin-off movie BEAUTY SHOP starring Queen Latifa. That was back in 2005 and there’s been neither a peep nor a rumor of any kind about revisiting this franchise. Now that it’s over ten years later, clearly we need to. *sarcasm* Actually, come to think of it, we do live in a sequel/remake-fetish Hollywood right now, so maybe we should be expecting that CASABLANCA and FIGHT CLUB sequels, or the GODFATHER and CITIZEN KANE remakes any day now. Face it, all of you would be up in arms, but not the least bit surprised.
But enough of that nonsense, time to talk about this movie. Honestly, I never saw a single trailer for this. I don’t even recall seeing a poster for it around my cinema. I mean, did I miss that?? I opened my schedule for the week and stamped right among the films coming out, this was in the line-up. So… yeah, I went into this movie having no initial preconceptions. That is a lot scarier than I care to admit. Well, I sat my ass down and went in blind. This is my honest opinion of BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT.
Calvin (Ice Cube) and his crew are back, but this time, he’s partnered up with a beauty shop, led by Angie (Regina Hall). As everyone banters their usual banter, they become increasingly affected by the Chicago’s South Side gang violence. It’s become so bad that Calvin has considered closing the shop and moving it to the north, a safer environment for him to care for his wife and son, Jalen (Michael Rainey Jr.), whom is also getting sucked in to these bad choices. When a city representative comes around to tell them that the city council is considering to demolish a part of the South Side neighborhood, Calvin’s shop included in the demolition, the crew must come up with an idea to keep that from happening, while also battling some internal drama.
FUN FACT 1: Wait, back in 2005, there was a TV series?? #MindBlown
You know what, for all intents and purposes, this wasn’t a half bad movie.
So let’s start with the good. The banter between the cast feels genuine. There is great chemistry between them all. I won’t pretend that the conversations are particularly stimulating, but the playful jabs at each gender and race can get pretty funny. I think Cedric the Entertainer is quite possibly a scene-stealer. While everyone gets a funny line every so often, any and all comedy gold clearly comes out of him. I may not necessarily remember any particular line he says, but I do remember his lovability and his attitude.
Ice Cube holds up the movie pretty well too. As Calvin, he is definitely the heart of the story as the guy who has to make the hard decisions in the name of his family. You can feel the conflict of whether to keep trying to help make the community a better place and stay to keep everyone’s job, or sacrifice the generational value of the shop for the chance at safety for his son.
Honestly, the way I see it is not entirely dissimilar to going to a dumb but entertaining action movie; you’re not watching this movie for the story, you’re watching it for the action. Hell if anything, whatever story it has kind of gets in the way. This movie is the kind of movie you go into not for its story, but the atmosphere that the barbershop itself provides; kick up your feet and enjoy the banter. It’s not about story, it’s about hanging out.
However, as much as I was enjoying the comradery, the story does bother me in some aspects.
While I may not be the guy to underestimate the power of a community unified for a cause, that usually consists of dozens upon dozens upon dozens of people getting together and intellectually coming up with a plan to bring the community together and make their town better. It’s not just one business that makes change. Maybe one person can be credited with the ideas and the resources, but not a single business whose main idea is viral twitter posts.
But if that was the worst thing I’d have to deal with in this movie, this would have been a downright good flick. Instead, there’s a lot of side-drama that doesn’t tie in to any of the more interesting conflicts, like the gang violence and the corruption of young men to join those gangs. Instead, we get a large amount of time devoted to Rashad, played by Common, having a kind of love triangle with his girlfriend Terri, played by Eve, and Draya, played by Nicki Minaj. For whatever reason, Terri gets mad at Rashad that Draya is flirting with him. What common sense does that make?? I have no idea. I also give about zero shits. He’s not having an affair, the audience knows this, hence there’s no suspense. Sure, Draya wants Rashad, but that’s not even entirely explained why, other than “the power of lady-boners cannot be denied!”
And when Calvin does decide to sell the shop, why doesn’t he discuss this move with Angie? So many bridges would have been burned doing that. It’s not like he was going to get away with it for very long and the situation would have been cushioned tremendously if he’d been honest from the start. Who knows, alternatives could have been presented if he had another mind to think on the matter with him. But nope, lowest common denominator!
And that’s pretty much it. A few tropes here and there that are old, but the constant back and forth, tossing around playful insults and quips is pretty fun to watch, especially any time Cedric is chiming in. If you’re a fan of the cast, I’d say you’re in a pretty good place and shouldn’t have any problems enjoying yourself more than I did. I’ve only seen it once, but I don’t think I’ll be seeing it a second time. I don’t regret it, but once was enough.
My honest rating: 3/5