by Lyle Foster
Barbershop :The Next Cut
Well, you can talk about me later…….the part of this film that I liked the best was actually at the end when there were some shots about the hope for the city of Chicago and some clips were shared of several youth groups that were going against the grain that has characterized this city for so long.
In some ways it is understandable that Hollywood is going to stick with a winner and you have seen my moans before about the sequels and rewrites of former movies over and over. But I get it ….if it made money before maybe it can make even more now.
And trust me I totally understand that the goal is to make moolah and so far the film is brought in over $36 million which is a good return on its $12 million dollar budget. But it is a part reflection on the pain of our community that we need escape and a few laughs so bad that we will go crazy at almost any attempt to do that. The film does have the original installment which came out in 2002 to build on and that was very successful and by some accounts a better film. In major cities the film was showing every half hour at major locations and almost selling out each show. My beef is that the entire film is shot in the set of the barber shop and a few home scenes and the local park. Can we take the scope of the film a bit broader and more engaging? Oh well I am not the director so it worked for them but I like a stronger film quality and development.
Director Malcom Lee has brought back Cedric the Entertainer and Ice Cube plus a new cast of characters and the barber shop has a salon integrated into it now as well which adds another element to it all. You can probably find one of your favorite actors in the film which also features Anthony Anderson (Blackish), Sean Patrick Thomas, Margot Bingham, Regina Hall, Eve, J.B. Smoore, Common, Nicki Minaj, Lamore Morris, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Deon Cole (Blackish). The acting was generally credible but no outstanding performances and in general it was not designed to be that kind of film. I will say that Ms. Minaj is cast in a role to show here attributes and that is all we will say for that. If you see the film it will be very apparent what I am saying.
Ice Cube plays Calvin the owner of the Barber shop located on the south side of Chicago which is trying to survive in the midst of a gang infested neighborhood and trying to help the community survive. He also is hoping to save his son from being recruited by the gangs so he has a personal stake in the fight as well. Jokes abound and many comments about social issues so you can not completely escape reality by going to this film. In perhaps one of the more poignant moments of the film a roll call of the victims of police shootings is rattled off and it made me think is this the way we now get our moment in the sun …..what a sad world? The barber shop attempts to create a safe zone for the public by staying open and being a safe place. Not a bad idea.
In between the seriousness of gang wars the barbers and stylists cast their stakes on any number of hot button issues. Some jokes fall on their mark and some miss it. This is when I miss the city and going to films like this because even when the jokes miss it the audience is entertainment in itself. There were a few giggles in the house but nothing crazy.
I like the film and yes it is worth seeing but mainly to escape what the Sounds of Blackness called the pressure. And after Prince leaving us I certainly understand that folks need a smile.
I need to be fair too and realize that barber shop is what it is and that is a comedy with a few social comments and after all isn’t that what the barber shop is……a place where we can keep it real and tell a few jokes on ourselves and each other and then try to go back into the real world and make it to our next cut or weave treatment?
But the film also reminds us that we cannot escape really because the real world follows us wherever we are even into the barber shop.
I am still going to say again that I wish for a greater plot and set development and stronger depth but the film is going to be quite successful without it and that is also reality.
Time to go to my local barber shop and experience it all in real life.
87 out of 100