Barbershop: The Next Cut

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The premise of this Barbershop has the place becoming a unisex salon so that they can stay in business. This is also an excuse to bring in Angie (Regina Hall), Nicki Minaj, Eve and…way too many other characters. The movie would’ve done a lot better with fewer people, and fewer preachy sermons.

Ice Cube and Cedric the Entertainer are back. As somebody that’s always thought Cedric was hysterical (even in movies like The Cleaner), I would’ve just rather heard him riffing on the topics of the day, instead of people like Common and Deon Cole. Both of them have a way of talking that’s just irritating. It doesn’t help that the jokes in this are rarely funny. Now, J.B. Smoove — he’s one of the funniest guys around. He steals every scene he’s in. He works at the barbershop, mostly with his various side businesses (which includes dental work and V.D. screenings).

This part of Chicago has been riddled with gun violence. As one character humorously points out, “It’s a buncha conjugal visits gone bad.”

Since a few of the barbers are raising sons, and one of them (Michael Reiney Jr.) is contemplating joining a gang, they decide to get the gang leaders into the shop for a truce. Not sure what they felt a 48-hour cease fire would do, but…they give free haircuts during this time, and it makes a bit of an impact on the news.

There are a number of unfunny jokes aimed at Lamorne Morris, who they all think is gay.

There are idiotic dramatic moments when Minaj keeps flirting with Rashad (Common), who is married to Eve. It’s one of those movie pet peeves where, if he just tells her certain things, she wouldn’t be mad. Instead, he’s vague and she has no choice but to think he’s cheating with her. It’s the type of stuff we thought was stupid in Three’s Company in the ‘70s.

There’s an Indian-American barber named Raja (Utkarsh Ambudkar). He’s sometimes made fun of, and he sometimes makes fun of the black culture.

Another side story that’s completely dopey, has Anthony Anderson playing an entrepreneur that claims his food truck (Gangsta Grub) is selling food to raise money for the community. It’s “Soul food to save fool’s souls.” We all know he’s just a huckster and that it’s just a matter of time before he’s caught.

A lot of the jokes are just old. We hear stuff about Beyonce, the Kardashians (it does get credit for a jab at Bill Cosby). Nobody joked better about hair weaves and straightening, than the documentary Good Hair (Chris Rock). Perhaps you’re better off seeking that out.

I just felt the drama was forced. The three barbershop scenes in Coming to America (Eddie Murphy) were funnier than all three of these movies combined.

I was pleasantly surprised to see in the opening credits, that the talented jazz bassist Stanley Clarke did the score. Often times though, the music comes up in a goofy way that’s supposed to add drama. Instead, it’s a distraction.

And since this movie is so preachy about gun and gang violence, I wonder how Ice Cube feels about it all. Remember, he was the founding member of N.W.A. (Straight Outta Compton). They’re the band that created “gangster rap” and helped glamorize guns and gangs to youth.

The director of this is Malcolm D. Lee, cousin of Spike. Spike Lee did his Chicago movie about gun violence last year with Chi-Raq. I’m guessing he’d hate this movie. Especially since his movie tanked, and this will probably bring in $100 million at the box office.

If you liked the first two Barbershop’s, you won’t be disappointed.

This gets 1 ½ stars out of 5.