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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Movie Review: #Barbershop The Next Cut

A hilarious attempt at connecting current affairs and comedy.

After more than a decade has past at Calvin’s Barbershop in South Side Chicago not much has changed within the shop itself. However, in the neighborhood and throughout the nation violence and racial tension has begun to run rampant. The group of barbers and hairstylists both male and female are at each other constantly bickering back and forth on a wide range of social and political issues while still managing to be hilarious. As the barbershop struggles with multiple issues they try to band together to make a difference in their community to stop the rising violence while Calvin tries to resolve his own family problems. He and his son are at odds like every other father and son, but instead of arguing over chores, Calvin is actively trying to keep his son safe from gangs or associating with bad influences. The barbershop comes up with a plan to save the neighborhood and Calvin makes his own backup strategy to protect his family.

Barber Shop: The Next Cut is a true comedy film packed to the gills with snide remarks, quick comebacks, plenty of one-liners and has the audience roaring with laughter most of the time. Like every film there are highs and lows and although the highs are hilarious, the lows are awkward and completely out of place. Not only is the film filled with jokes but tons of contradictions. If taken at face value you will laugh hard and often, but the director, Malcom D. Lee and writers Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver have more in store than just laughs. A strong undertone throughout the film is the message of current affairs in society with issues like the Black Lives Matter Movement, sexism, and gang violence in major metro areas specifically the fictional shop’s location of Chicago.

With the addition of serious topics to a flat out comedy film the acting suffers. Mostly due to the comedic cast of Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Lamorne Morris, Regina Hall and even Nicki Minaj having to bounce between funny repertoire to serious issues that throws the mood off balance. Are we supposed to laugh now or wait until they stop talking about young black men being shot and murdered by police? The attempt of bring societal flaws and issues to the forefront of a movie geared towards young adults almost trivializes their message as a whole. It seems out of place and inappropriate when the next line that follows is about fat asses and what a man really wants in bed. There are moments when a character is doing a bit of stand up and firing off one joke after another but then it takes a dramatic turn as they make a socio-political statement that some audience members applaud and other immediately stop laughing. The one actor who does a great job at walking the fine line drawn definitively in the sand is Lamorne Morris. His delivery seems far more earnest and genuine than anything Nicki Minaj says throughout the entirety of the movie.

Taking out the awkward misplaced stance on current affairs the film has a solid story of how a father just wants to do the best for his family during changing times. The idea of Calvin doing everything to make sure his son lives and thrives into his adulthood is a great message and story as is. But, it gets lost in the other plot lines from infidelity, culture issues, society changes, and racial tension in general. If you are able to look past its flaws and awkward moments, Barbershop: The Next Cut still delivers as a feel good comedy. I would suggest not taking young children since this film is geared towards teens, young adults and grown-folk. Go for the laughs and leave your politics at the door. There is a time and a place for the message and putting it in a comedy film is not the time nor the place.

Barbershop: The Next Cut is rated PG-13 for sexual material and language and has a 112 minute runtime.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Erika Ashley at @ErikaAshley

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