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Title: Barbershop: The Next Cut

Movie: :2stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :1.5stars:

HTS Overall Score:67

It’s been 12 years since the last “Barbershop” movie (14 years since the original), and the crew is back together for another flick. Once again most of the old faces are back in the saddle, minus a few here and there, and that’s one of the biggest draws for fans of the franchise. Ice Cube and Cedric are still the big boys in the park, but the third movie in the franchise stays true to the ensemble history and even brings the series forward just a bit as it is no longer a “guys only” Barbershop. This time the female side is cohabitating with Calvin and his crew to make for a witty and humor filled film. At least that’s what they were going for. While the first “Barbershop” was not a bastion of brilliance, the sequels have gotten progressively worse and “Barbershop: The Next Cut” ends up being a stale and boring film that stays more than a little safe, while coming across as clichéd and preachy with its take on politics, interracial relations, and crime.

While the basis of the series has always been about interpersonal relationships, “The Next Cut” likes to focus its attention on the violence that has just nearly destroyed Chicago over the last few decades (actually more than a FEW decades in reality. My parents grew up there and the crime was just as bad then as it is now almost). Calvin (Ice Cube) is dealing with the realities of gang violence sweeping the south side of Chicago, and it’s become just a little too much to deal with. Day in and day out someone is getting shot by rival gangs waging war in the middle of the urban environment, and he’s had it up to here. Now old time barber and holier than though city councilman Jerrod (Lamorne Morris) comes to warn the shop that the city council is voting on blocking off several street areas in the neighborhood in an effort to have traffic flow more smoothly and hopefully cut down on the gang violence in the area. This of course doesn’t set well with everyone as this neighborhood is where many family based businesses are, and will not only just affect the shop, but everyone around them. Banding together and holding a 48 hour period of “cease fire”, Calvin enlists all of his friends and even the local shock collars in an effort to gain some notoriety and hopefully get the town council to reverse their decision.

Like usual, the series tends to fracture off in several different story paths. The first is the changing dynamic of the group, as the ladies barbershop, has to deal with the men’s bluster and bravado, with newcomers Draya (Nicki Minaj) acting as a wedge between long time cast members Terri (Eve) and Rashad (Common), who are now married. Push comes to shove and Nicki’s obviously over ripe sexuality causes more than a few ripples in their strained marriage. A marriage that is already teetering just as bit with Rashad taking over Eve’s chair from the barbershop, while Terri is off and about as the big shot money maker now. Second side aspect of the film comes in the form of Calvin’s son, Jalen (Michael Rainey Jr.), who is getting into fights at school and soon discovered to be getting a little too close to the gang violence itself (in a twist that seems ridiculously clichéd considering the stability of Calvin’s household vs. some of the others).

“Barbershop: The Next Cut” has its moments, but those moments are few and far between with most of the over bloated runtime filled with preachy and deluded theories of curing gang violence with the old “let’s talk it out” mentality. Ice Cube and crew take to the issues of gang violence with gusto, showing a definite passion for the people and significant desire to actually cure the issues of said violence. The problem is that the jokes are stale and the anger at gang violence seems to miss any of the hard issues and instead tries to play it safe, all the while preaching about the trials and tribulations that they endure. Thus they come up with the brilliant idea to hold a cease fire for 48 hours at the barbershop in order to prove that they CAN come together and work things out. Ironically one of the characters in the film actually asks Calvin what is going to happen after 48 hours, but that is just glibly glossed over by the screen writers even though it’s OBVIOUS what is going to happen. People will go back to killing each other like usual and nothing will be solved. It’s an admirable desire to think that violence and gang warfare and class warfare can be solved with a couple of haircuts and a plucky attitude, but reality has pretty much proven that wrong time and time again so it looks just as ridiculous to the viewers as it is under a microscope.

All of the cast does a solid job with what they’re given, but they’re not given a while lot to really work with. Ice Cube is his normal angry self, while Common plays it smooth and suave like he normally does. Nicki Minaj doesn’t do much besides show off her extremely curvaceous assets, but the real standout in the film is J.B. Smooth as Onestop, the Barbershop’s fixer who can’t stop talking long enough to take a breath. I really wanted to enjoy the performances, but the overly clichéd and embarrassingly simplistic take on gang violence that permeates the film, combined with some seriously stale jokes, just comes across as pandering and limp wristed in the end.


Rated PG-13 for sexual material and language

Video :4stars:
“Barbershop: The Next Cut” comes to Blu-ray with a very pleasing looking digital release that is very balanced in its visual approach, while maintaining a strong encode for us on home video. The movie shows off fantastic detail throughout, with intimate facial details, such as Common’s facial pores, or Nicki’s constantly shifting weave, or even the simplistic things like the paint chips along the walls of the barbershop, or the acne on Jaylens face. There is a mildly soft tone to the image that keeps it from being the best of the best, but colors pop with effortless ease, and the color balance is kept to a very natural state. Black levels are strong (although there really aren’t a lot of dark scenes in the film) and I couldn’t detect any major banding on this release.

Audio :4stars:
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix is very straightforward and simple, yet still effective and well done. This is a dialog driven comedy first and foremost, so that center channel gets a majority of the work with the vocals. Said dialog is strong and clean, with no audible distortions or imbalance among the other channels that I could detect. However, there is not a whole lot of surround activity besides the occasional bit of music or the barbershop door slamming shut in the background. As is, it’s really a 3.1 mix with a few mild moments of boisterous activity before the surrounds fade into the background once more. LFE suffers the same fate, with a few bits of ambiance and the occasional music support, but really, this is a VERY dialog heavy film. With that being said, the track does everything asked of it with elegant ease, but besides the front soundstage there really isn’t a whole lot going on in the back.

Extras :1.5stars:

• Gag Reel
• Deleted Scenes with Malcolm D. Lee
• The Next Cut: Barbershop Bootcamp

Overall: :3.5stars:

There’s certainly some fun moments to “The Next Cut”, especially dealing with Calvin and his son, but much of the opportunity is squandered by poor writing and simplistic direction. The plight of gang violence is not something to take lightly, and I respect the movie for looking at it with the sincerest of intentions, but just because something is sincere doesn’t a good movie make. Audio and video for the release are looking good for a comedy, but the extras are a bit anemic, making this release warrant a simple “skip it” from me.

Additional Information:

Starring: Ice Cube, Cedric The Entertainer, Nikki Minaj
Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee
Written by: Kenya Barris, Tracy Oliver,
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, French, Portuguese DD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 112 Minutes
Own Barbershop: The Next Cut on Blu-ray or DVD on July 26 or Own It Early on Digital HD on July 5!

Buy Barbershop: The Next Cut On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Skip it

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