Barbershop: The Next Cut, is the third installment film of the highly acclaimed American comedy series released this year by a fresh director to the trilogy, Malcom D. Lee and once more, the film captures the daily chaotic buzz and bustle of series frontman, Calvin (Ice Cube), and his bizarrely lovable team as they bring laughter and, of course, undeniable style, to their local South Side Chicago customers.
Following a long fourteen year wait between the first and now third film, the film promises to deliver audiences with as much laughter, drama and faces of a star studded cast who ooze personality on screen. Subtitled “The Next Cut”, the third film offers the most heartfelt motivations yet for Calvin to keep his much loved Barbershop running, with the story centering on the fate of his son, Jalen (Michael Rainey, Jr.), and the struggles he faces of coming to age in the light of growing tensions in the neighbourhood.
As Jalen struggles to find his place within the community, he is lured and tempted by an offer made to join a certain neighbourhood gang, however, he is quietly nerved by how his father will take his new path. The nervous and suspenseful scenes between Jalen and his father remind us of the strained relationship Calvin had in the early films with his own father and the way in which both he, and now his own son, deal with the great expectations of their parents and the internal battles they face of not wanting to let them down. With this key conflict driving the film, “The Next Cut” successfully balances humour and drama, producing a rich screenplay which is sincere, light-hearted, and most importantly, comfortably familiar to audiences.
In the hope of restoring order and peace with the rising acts of gang violence in the streets, Calvin and his team reach out to the community to turn the shop into a 48 hour “safe zone”. This measure of bringing everyone together and offering free haircuts throughout the 48 hours is an encouraging act to further combat the political move to wall in the neighbourhood for safety, as the team fear this action will only damage the state of their business and morale in the streets more. It is in these particular scenes, where the door to the Barbershop is open to all and the eccentric characters of Calvin’s team come together in a heartening display of friendship and harmony, where the film displays its most evolved and important concept yet; unity breeds success.
Alongside the growing divide of gang violence in the community, and the distance Calvin feels with Jalen, is the added tension of the once male-dominated space now being open to females. In a strategic move to survive economic hardships, Calvin’s shop merges with Angie’s beauty salon so that both business’ can stay afloat and to maintain the happiness and loyalty of each businesses clientele. A development which at times in the shop comes under scrutiny and almost runs the risk of tearing relationships, and marriages, apart.
However, although there are obvious instances where both male and female motivations and communication breaks down, there is no denying that this decision to bring both parties together ultimately works in both Angie and Calvin’s favour. With actresses such as Nicki Minaj, Regina Hall, Eve and Margot Bingham being featured, sexes come together and rise above the risk of failure, proving that working together ultimately is the greatest test, but also the greatest victory of all. Additionally, the women in Angie’s business and their customers offer a diverse flare to the atmosphere of the shop, not afraid to challenge Calvin’s men, in particular, to challenge the hilariously much loved provocateur of the film series, Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer). Their presence thus ultimately brings a warm layer of humour which female audiences can also respect and connect to whilst settling in to enjoy the film.
The film thus does a fantastic job of not only following up from the previous two films, but of moreover portraying a powerful message in all aspects of its script and action. Stuffed with character talent and relevant issues, the film’s overall message is received with grace and geniality. If you’re in the mood to laugh until Coke flies out your nose and equally be hiding the small tears running down your cheeks, Barbershop: The Next Cut is a delightful and fun movie to go out and see!
Though they co-star in this film, Ice Cube and Common were the centre of a long and brutal feud in their Rap careers during the 1990’s.