Movie: Barbershop: The Next Cut
Rating: 3 and 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)
Review: The south side of Chicago is a violent place to live and work. Gang violence and gunfire is a daily occurrence, and the citizens are fearful even as they have learned to accept it as a way of life. Calvin’s Barbershop is something of a landmark on the south side, with a thriving clientele. Even the leaders of the two rival street gangs come to Calvin’s, although they are careful not to be there at the same time. Calvin (Ice Cube) is the primary owner of the shop, with several barbers helping him with the workload such as Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), and Rashad (Common). Calvin’s also caters to the ladies’ hair needs, with stylists Angie (Regina Hall), Terri (Eve) and Draya (Nikki Minaj) snipping hair and sniping at the menfolk. Then there is a shady character called One-Stop (J.B. Smoove), who can get all sorts of things for the clientele, legal or not so much. All in all, a thriving bee hive of activity, and you can even get meals there from J.D. (Anthony Anderson), proprietor of the Gangsta Grub food truck.
The action is as fast paced as the chatter at the barbershop, and insults are zinged at a rapid fire pace. Calvin is worried about raising his 14 year old son in the south side environment, and the barbers and hair stylists talk about politics, race issues, and the seemingly unsolvable conundrum of gun violence. And yet, they do try in their own way to start a movement to quell the level of violence in their part of the city.
This turned out to be a good movie on several levels. This third Barbershop movie could have been a tired rehash of the previous ones, but this story was fresh and timely. It sizzled with good dialogue and quick laughs with a very attractive cast, but had a serious side that debated the gun violence issue that is a national tragedy. The film is well done and definitely worth seeing.
Actors To Watch: It is hard not to be mesmerized by Nikki Minaj on the screen. If this is the age of the booty, she is a superstar. But she also has talent, as was previously seen in a small role in the movie The Other Woman. Look for Nikki to get mainstream film roles. A not so pretty face is Deon Cole, a former writer on the Conan talk show, and talented stand-up comic. His role as Dante was a major comic boon to the film. All he needs to do is use those eyes to get a laugh.
Dialogue Nuggets: “I used to come here to get away from women. It used to be the original man cave!”
Dante to shop folks – “Last week I got robbed twice on the same day, and got my ass beat by the second robber for giving all my money to the first robber!”
Calvin to son – “You know what all these people have in common?” Son – “They old?” Calvin – “This ain’t the Oprah show. You can’t just show up and get free stuff.”
Draya – “When I walk out with this hair and this booty it’s like a black Amex card, and I never get denied!” (Blog editor’s comment – “Damn straight, Nikki!”)
Hair Stylist – “For years there has been a war between good girls and ho’s, and the ho’s have won.”
Raj (Indian Barber) – “The president of the United States is black. The only person I have to look up to is a character on The Big Bang Theory.”
Calvin – “We’re crazy to think that hair cuts can stop bullets.”
End of Film: This film is basically a love letter to Chicago. As Calvin states, “I never gave up on Chicago, because you never gave up on me.”