Barbershop Review: Back to the Southside

Chad White
Loves: The Barbershop Series, Ice Cube, Common, Regina Hall, Lamorne Morris, JB Smoove
Likes: Nicki Minaj
Dislikes: Gangs
Hates: Violence, Barbershop The Show

We have to stop the violence.

For a series that’s been derelict for more than a decade, Barbershop really holds up. The first movie dealt with Ice Cube’s Calvin trying to keep his father’s shop afloat all the while dealing with the kooky characters that come in and out of the shop as well as the violence of Chicago. Back In Business had the shop going head to head against a bigger, fancier shop across the street. But, after dealing with the problems of yesteryear, the shop is back for a third time and the struggle of business and violence is all the more real. Barbershop: The Next Cut may have a vanilla name however the story remains as relevant to today’s society as it ever has.

Calvin and the guys -- now consisting of Cedric the Entertainer’s Eddie, JB Smoove’s One Stop, Lamorne Morris’ Jerrod, Utkarsh Ambudkar’s Raja, and Common’s Rashad who is now married and cutting next to Eve’s Terri -- have joined forces with Beauty Shop’s women who include Regina Hall’s Angie, Nicki Minaj’s Draya, and Margot Bingham’s Bree. There are a handful of other characters who are shop regulars including the returning Sean Patrick Thomas’ Jimmy James and Anthony Anderson’s JD along with newcomer Deon Cole’s Dante. Every character has their time to shine with equal parts going around. That’s part of what makes the Barbershop series special in that it isn’t afraid to put what should be auxiliary characters in the spotlight. They’re all funny but Smoove, Morris, and Cole are real standouts with their classically stellar line delivery from their television comedy backgrounds.

Gang violence takes center stage in Chicago’s Southside neighborhood and in this story. Calvin works to keep the peace in the shop and at home as his son is coerced into attempting to join a gang led by rapper Tyga (who’s character goes by the name of Yummy). Things get tense between the two throughout the film while the streets get more and more dangerous. Ice Cube did a wonderful job here getting his emotions through to the audience and his shop workers and family alike. One scene in particular has the two rival gang leaders booked for appointments that leads to a tense standoff between the two in the middle of the barbershop. As one leader reaches for his gun – that Cube so smartly required to be locked up in a safe – the pain in Cube’s eyes is real and almost heartbreaking. In that instant, we see the true hurt and danger of living on the Southside and what it can do to its residents.

But Barbershop has always been a comedy. That’s no different here. Jokes are fast and funny, often landing seconds after they start. Punchlines are given out accordingly with each character getting their own workable material. With both the comedy and drama hitting hard, it’s great that the series has an adept if not gifted director in Malcom D. Lee. His guidance is on point with model shots of the city and novel ways of covering both heart and comedy all the while his ability to keep up with the fast flying conversations is just insane. The first movies are good but The Next Cut takes things to an entirely new level in terms of production. Lighting is excellent, the look is crisp, and, for the first time ever Barbershop feels like a movie.

Should you watch Barbershop: The Next Cut?

Fans of the series will flock to this one and love it more than the previous two. Newcomers will find the heart and humor both engaging and hilarious. Even those who keep up with the slightest bit of news will find something in this movie to relate to. Barbershop: The Next Cut brings together so much while making a difference in terms of our world. Watch it and don’t be surprised if you like it.

 

Notes

  • A few months ago, someone told me that I remind them of Lamorne Morris on New Girl. Having seen a majority of that show and this movie, yes. I get it now. We are the same nerdy but well-dressed guys.
  • Nicki Minaj did a great job here. Really. Way better than on that filth The Other Woman.
  • Deon Cole and JB Smoove are two of my favorite performers right now. Cole wrote for Conan and Smoove has been in my life since Curb Your Enthusiasm. I will go out of my way to see these fellas work.
  • Cedric the Entertainer’s Eddie is always a delight. How can such a sexist man work alongside the women?
  • Eve’s Terri has never been a good person but apparently she’s hanging out with other dudes while Common is taking care of their daughter. None of that was really explained so I don’t think we should care.
  • Someone was crying during the climax of my showing. It’s not even something they should cry about. Like lol wtf?
  • No one ever explains where the other barbers went. Where's Kenan Thompson's Kenard? Or Dinka? Or Queen Latifah! She owned the Beauty Shop!
  • There was also a "all the black people get up and dance to some R&B song" scene in the middle of the movie. God, it was so good.