Not every movie franchise can go a decade between sequels. So, it should be worthy of note that Barbershop: The Next Cut, a film that came out roughly twelve years after the previous installment, succeeds at being quite a worthy addition to the line up. The Barbershop gang has always been like a family, good friends that you never mind spending time with. Seriously, this is a group of people, a funny assemblage of colorful characters, that you could invite over for a neighborhood barbecue and spend the evening laughing, eating ribs, and laughing some more.
Having said that, it was a pity that I missed seeing The Next Cut during its theatrical release. Sometimes life just has a messy habit of getting in the way — especially when you’ve got bills to pay. Nevertheless, as someone who enjoys watching movies, I’m sure you can imagine my delight when I learned I’d be reviewing this Blu-ray.
Out of the three Barbershop films, I’d say this new installment is better than the first sequel, Back in Business, yet not as good as the first film in the series. This time, Calvin, played by the multi-talented Ice Cube, and his team of capable barbers — each of them with entertaining personalities and an arsenal of jokes — have matured a bit and are sharing the shop with a group of equally hilarious beauticians. No, Queen Latifah and the cast of 2005’s Barbershop spin-off Beauty Shop are not present for this, although an appearance by Golden Brooks or Sherry Shepherd would have been nice. Similar hijinks ensue with talk about baby mamas, cheating husbands, everyday drama, conniving vixens and what have you. However, something new has been added to the mix this time in the form of a real world 2016 problem.
You see, Calvin’s Barbershop is located in Chicago, and anyone who’s been keeping up with the news knows that Chicago has had it pretty rough lately with gang-related violence and innocent people being harmed. Quite frankly, I think it was a stroke of genius for the writers of the film to acknowledge this and weave it into the fabric of the movie. It made for dynamic storytelling and added some gravitas to a comedy that could’ve simply been brushed off as merely another urban farce. Director Malcolm D. Lee of The Best Man Holiday does a brilliant job with his cast and the dramatic elements of the film all leave a mark.
This is a comedy, however, and quite a good one too. Joining Barbershop veterans Ice Cube, Eve and Cedric the Entertainer are newcomers Regina Hall, Nicki Minaj and Common – whom I just have to give a shout out to because his acting has improved considerably. That’s not shade, folks. That’s honesty. In fact, I’d venture to say that Common was the best new addition to the cast. As the husband of Eve’s character Terri, he did excellent with what he was given and even managed to score a few laughs. A scene with him charmed by Minaj’s, um, assets was particularly comedic.
The same can be said about the gag reel that is included in the Special Features of this Blu-ray release. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this cast and crew had a lot of fun shooting the film. Other extras include deleted scenes and a fun feature entitled “The Next Cut: Barbershop Bootcamp.” Warner Brothers has released the main feature in 1080p high definition and Dolby Digital. Subtitles come in English, French and Spanish. All in all, not bad for a Blu-ray. An audio commentary would have been nice, but I digress.
So, will there be another Barbershop? Honestly, I wouldn’t mind seeing one more to wrap it all up. While the film opened to less at the box office than its 2004 predecessor, it still performed well and I feel audiences are invested in these characters. They truly are the same funny and insightful individuals that you would find in a barbershop and that makes it all the more special. Barbershop: The Next Cut is fun, enjoyable and ultimately thought provoking.
Now that’s what I call a good look.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment generously provided Hotchka with a Blu-ray copy of Barbershop: The Next Cut for reviewing purposes.