Friday, April 15, 2016

Barbershop: The Next Cut

Barbershop: The Next Cut

Actor, Director, Producer and Rapper Ice Cube brings back to the big screen his eclectic array of hair cutting colleagues with all of their distinct biting humorous personalities in tow with the latest Barbershop sequel in the new titled effort called “Barbershop: The Next Cut”.

It’s been more than 10 years since we last sat in the chair of the South Side Chicago’s barbershop establishment named Calvin Barbershop. Calvin (Cube) and his raucous barber crew, including lifelong close friend, self-appointed African American historian, elder statesman and the primary source of comic relief Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer) are all collectively working endlessly again with their targeted humor at each other with authentic camaraderie, love and respect. And with the addition of the perpetual kinetic energy that is typical of African American barbershops with endless rapid fire discussions on politics, relationships, food, sports and cultural matters the viewing audience eases back into the film’s story barber chair with relative ease.  

With the exception of women now sharing equal space for females customers, very little has changed inside the walls of Calvin business. The same however does not apply outside the shop within the streets of the community and the surrounding neighborhoods itself as Calvin’s Barbershop is now ground zero of nonstop gang violence; be wreath in violence actually that effects each of the employees of Calvin’s both equally and differently.

Feeling trapped, Calvin is frustrated more than any point in his life by the senseless killings. So he decides to take matters into his own hands that could ever change the close bonds between him and his employees, his wife, his son and his community forever.  

MY REVIEW: In the first 15 minutes the film started out with it’s predictably anticipated sharp witted humor and constant teasing among the core characters and patrons that at times was both extremely funny and at other times a bit clunky missing its mark. But what eventually takes hold to emerge very effectively during the 1:52 overall running time is a very mature, solid, and socio-politically savvy commentary on the violence that causes so much devastation within the African American communities across the country. But the ultimate strength of this screenplay is its heartfelt honesty to take this problem head on in such an ownership way of trying to find those solutions without taking predictable cheap shots towards blaming Whites, racist local police officers, the proliferation of guns or the ineffective leadership of government and local officials for solutions. No, Ice Cubes Calvin sets the moral tone of the film rather forcefully from the very beginning with a strong statement that this problem of murders starts with the family and the good people – the adults taking charge of matters first using positivity and encouragement to help teenagers solving their problems without pointing a gun in someone’s face and pulling the trigger.

“Barbershop: The Next Cut” is surprisingly less a comedy and more of a dramatic  purposeful straightforward questions and answers session of a film on what can be done to solve this nationwide big city problem. It executes this central plot point with both the right strong tone and the unbridled truth.

And while this film still has the same stylishness as the past films had, this effort is buoyed beyond cliché nonstop humor with a very strong array of performances across the board from this unusually large ensemble cast. Each actor has their moment to shine and make their own case that their voice and personal stories matter. But more importantly what the film does is bring a high degree of nobility to a problem with grace and heart felt honesty to its very end.

While there are some touching moments, one involving a Luther Vandross song and another involving someone famous, Barbershop Cut goes to great lengths not to use profanity, engage in debauchery laden jokes or use inflammatory rhetoric to blame others.  No this Barbershop offers only a positive strong message that we all should be the force for change by starting the work in our homes.  

3 – 1/2 Stars

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