(Originally posted to The Ranting SBox blog on January 22, 2017).
"I got robbed twice, and got my ass beat by the second robber for giving all my money to the first... She wasn't playing!"
Barbershop: The Next Cut is the fourth (or third main-series) film in the #Barbershop series.
Things have been different ever since Calvin Palmer merged the local beauty salon with his barbershop. New staff, new clientele, and new topics of discussion. Though one more unfortunate new change is the neighborhood. #Chicago has become rampant with gangs with violence and death occurring daily. After hearing that his son is in danger of joining a gang, Calvin and the staff decide to use their barbershop to do some good. They announce a 48 hour ceasefire at their shop, offering free haircuts to everyone as long as no further violence ensues. Will it be enough to heal the city?
Pros: As someone not too familiar with the Barbershop movies, I didn't expect all too much from this movie. I thought it was going to be just some whatever comedy with an impressive ensemble, but what I found was unassumingly clever, shockingly endearing movie.
This movie is probably the most sophisticated #comedy I saw in 2016. It has purpose. It has weight. There's a certain amount of class here that you don't typically get in big budget comedies, and that vibe is almost guaranteed to draw you in as a viewer. You don't feel like this is just a money-grabbing sequel, a franchise starter, or a quick paycheck for #IceCube and his friends. It comes off more like a breath of fresh air.
The best aspect of the movie for me is the story. As predictable as it may be at times, I enjoyed my time with this plot, its message, and these characters. I love how contained the film mostly is. A good 70-80% of the film takes place in the barbershop with the characters just talking about life, their struggles, and their worldview. It's mostly a character-driven piece, but I love how the story isn't just one thing or the other. The ceasefire plot blends with the satirical banter portion instead of one overtaking the other. There is something to be said about how long it takes to get to the ceasefire plot, but I didn't mind it because the character interaction was so fascinating.
Let's not forget the film's all-star cast. Much of today's most renowned African American talent are here and they don't disappoint. Everyone did a great job from Ice Cube to #Common, from #JBSmooth to #CedrictheEntertainer, from #ReginaHall to #NickiMinaj. Yes, Nicki Minaj is in this movie, and she's surprisingly one of the most memorable parts of the movie.
Cons: I promise this will be the last time I'll say this during the Countdown. As good as this film is in the moment and perhaps a week later, this movie lacks staying power. It's not that the movie isn't funny or entertaining, because it is. It's just not a movie you'll remember watching given a bit of time. I actually had to look up clips from the movie to remember the movie's jokes, let alone an opening quote for this post. Granted, that probably has a lot to do with the film's lack of one-liners and big comedic set-pieces. The film is almost entirely conversational, laid-back humor, which is one of the things I like about the movie. Though, it could've benefited from a bit more memorability.
One minor nitpick on my end is in regards to the movie's ending. I do enjoy the ending and what it stands for; especially since its a sincerely good message to leave the film and raises an issue that many non-Chicagoans know about. However I could've done without the very end of the film (right before the end-credit scene). It's nice and all, but I thought it was a bit overkill and could've easily been replaced with an equally sentimental and lasting scene.
Verdict: If this was a list based on quality alone, I'd place Barbershop: The Next Cut much higher. As it is, its a great, clever, charming comedy with a good story and lovable characters that just a bit forgettable. That being said, I would highly recommend this movie for at least a one-time viewing, whether on TV or through rental.
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