Barbershop: The Next Cut is another one of those modern day sequels that’s being brought to life after being just about dead for several years. It’s hard to say that I was too excited about it, but that didn’t prevent me from giving it a chance. What I got from it was some stuff that I expected to get, but I also got a bit more due to it wanting to be meaningful on some level.
In the third film of the franchise, we see that Calvin’s Barbershop is still up and running. That’s cool with Calvin (Ice Cube) and the rest of the people who work there, but the neighborhood is getting even tougher thanks to a spike in violence related to gang activity. With the hopes of saving both the shop and the lives of those who live around it, the crew decides to take the initiative and get involved in order to inspire their community to live in peace.
When it comes to the audience, the main goal of Barbershop: The Next Cut is to get you laughing. From that perspective it succeeds quite a bit and is likely to get a reaction at man points throughout its duration. That’s a relief to be honest with you when comparing it to most of the comedic releases over the past few years. Most of these “comedies” just hope to use crude behavior, but forget the actual humor aspects that need to be included. That’s not the case here and I’m happy for that.
The other huge element of Barbershop: The Next Cut comes in the form of its focus on some of the social issues that many in the Black community see as important to them. Being a Black person myself, I know that some of these things are constantly being spoken about in many of our circles, so that might be a reason why some of us would probably appreciate the fact that a lot of it is being touched upon in film. That’s fine I guess, but this part of the movie doesn’t work as well as it could have.
My primary reason for feeling this way is because there is so much being included here. I know they probably wanted to look at as many issues as possible, but doing it this way lengthens the movie a great deal. More importantly, shoving all of this stuff into the picture doesn’t allow us to get into the actual storyline as fast as we should since it takes forever for everything to settle down and actually lock into that portion of the movie.
The main story is constantly disrupted with these scenes as we’re asked to watch the guys and girls of the barbershop constantly deliver these epic monologues touching on things that many African-Americans talk about. These scenes are extremely long and are essentially just one side stating their opinion followed by the opposing side stating theirs. There are some funny bits here as well, but it’s just too much overall.
My biggest issue with everything seen here is that these segments of the film don’t even attempt to solve anything with the exception of the one uncontroversial topic that everyone outside of drug dealers and gangsters would agree on. Everything else is literally just the people in the barbershop talking. There’s no sense of resolution or finality to any of it. While the characters are strong in their respective beliefs, the film itself appears to have no problems straddling that volatile fence when it comes to attempting to provide answers.
I think that simply talking in a public manner about issues that are seen as important within the community will be enough for at lease a few people. For someone l like me, I’d prefer to actually look for real solutions to things. What’s the point of talking and bringing things up if you’re not going to try to fix anything? While a movie can obviously never actually solve issues, I would expect more to be done if you’re going to touch on certain subjects. If you’re not, then it only serves as a way to waste my time.
This is important because in order to properly analyze and fix any legitimate issues in life, you have to dig deep and be willing to accept the results that you uncover. Since not too many people are actually willing to do that, there’s no reason to even bring things this serious up in film or really even anywhere else unless you’re speaking to people who are honestly open to it. That’s especially true when the movie itself doesn’t want to push in that general direction.
As well as their intentions may have been, simply including so much of this unresolved stuff does damage. Cutting down some of The Next Cut by getting rid of almost all of these extra subjects in order to center on a couple of things featured would have given it the balance necessary to build something that’s more symmetrical. This would have benefited just about everyone outside of the characters in the movie who would have had less lines and camera time.
With all of that being said, I can definitely see people enjoying The Next Cut because of the comedy that’s on display. Plus, it’s also sort of a crowd pleasing type of feature that most people enjoy. Based on the reaction that I heard in the theater, it certainly has an audience that will be satisfied by what it wants to deliver. When I think about it, the only negative response I heard was that loud collective groan that spread across the crowd when Tyga showed up on-screen. Now that I think about it, that may have been the funniest part of the night.
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Cedric the Entertainer
Sean Patrick Thomas
Film Length: 112 minutes
Release Date: April 15, 2016