The cast of Barbershop series returns to the big screen for the third installment of the series, Barbershop: The Next Cut and it seems as though critics are generally pleased with the outcome. In this one, Calvin and his employees work together to save their shop and their neighborhood from the consequences of the violent gang activity that plagues their community.
Starting off with the not-so-good elements of the film, I have to admit that I struggled to get through the first hour. It starts off at such a slow pace that it requires a bit of an effort to sit through. The editing needed to be refined in between pieces of dialogue. Despite the relevance of the topics the characters are discussing throughout the film, there seems to be gaps between their lines that are completely empty and it makes the conversation feel unnatural, as if theyre not really even in the same room. I felt as though I was watching an extended cut of this film that still has all its excess footage. It misses a lot of opportunity to pick up the energy of the conversations and the pace feels incredibly slow. Tighter editing would have made a world of difference as well as helping some of the jokes make more of an impact.
It does seem to pick up the pace a little bit after that first hour. It becomes less of a drag as various characters’ stories start to come off the ground. I also couldn’t tell if the editing of the dialogue actually gets better or if I just adjusted to the style. Nevertheless I noted an improvement in the editing, it seems to tighten as it progresses.
I really have a lot of respect for Ice Cube as a producer. I think he did a fantastic job with Straight Outta Compton, the Friday trilogy, and quite a few others. His acting too, is absolutely fine, there really isn’t much to fault him on in his work in the film industry. The relationship that his character has with his son is one of the best dynamics of the film, delivering a lot of the emotional impact and character development as well as the films overall message.
Lamorne Morris, who is a favourite of mine from the FOX series New Girl, played the exact same character he plays in the series, which actually adds a kind of likability to this film that broadens its demographic.
Common was the highlight of this film, surprising audiences several times in his performance. Especially in a scene where he’s sitting alone in his car and he goes on a rant about Nicki Minaj’s character – I found it hilarious, mostly just because it was a performance I never expected from him, nor that I knew he even had in him. He is usually very serious and grounded in all his delivery, so that, as well as his stand out dance moves in the dance scene, was an absolutely pleasant surprise.
Speaking of which, the dance scene was the first scene that I felt completely relaxed in when watching this film. The rest of it, particularly in that first hour, felt like a lot of the actors (aside from Ice Cube and Regina Hall) were making such effort to establish their characters and their place in this barbershop dynamic that none of it felt natural. The effort would have probably have paid off were it not for the choppy editing, which only interrupted the flow of their chemistry as a group. It honestly made me so nervous for the rest of the movie because I really wanted it to be good. That is the first scene that felt natural and it seems to usher us into a far better second half of the movie.
It is quite a large ensemble which means that it inevitably has several endings, in order to conclude every character’s story within the overall plot.
This film is important for several reasons, one of them being that it reaches out to a specific demographic, trying really hard to relay an anti-violence message to communities that face this issue daily. It also indirectly serves as a tool for the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, which there is a need for at this point in history, even though many people may feel that we are bombarded with the message in social media. Barbershop: The Next Cut is an advocate and quite a fun time if you’re patient with the first half of it.
In the end, I had a good number of laughs and walked away having being reminded how stunning of a human being Common is.
Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee
Written by: Kenya Barris & Tracy Oliver
Starring: Ice Cube, Common, Regina Hall, Eve, Nicki Minaj and Lamorne Morris
Runtime: 122 minutes