When the original Barbershop hit theaters back in 2002 it showcased Ice Cube in a different kind of role and offered up plenty of laughs and a good message. After its success it not only spawned a sequel in 2004, but also a spin off film as well starring Queen Latifah. Now 12 years later Ice Cube is back in the shop with Barbershop: The Next Cut, but does it offer up more of the same laughs and message or will it be a crooked cut?
Barbershop: The Next Cut follows Calvin and his longtime crew still at the shop, but the it has undergone some major changes. Most noticeably, our once male-dominated sanctuary is now co-ed. The ladies bring their own flavor, drama and gossip to the shop challenging the fellas at every turn. Despite the good times and camaraderie within the shop, the surrounding community has taken a turn for the worse, forcing Calvin and our crew to come together to not only save the shop, but their neighborhood. This time around a lot of the same cast have returned as well as some new members to the team including Cedric the Entertainer, Regina Hall, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve, Anthony Anderson, J.B. Smoove, Common, and Nicki Minaj. They have intelligently kept the same format to the series and managed to bring the spin off film and merge it back into the original to add a whole new dynamic to the shop. When waiting this long for a new entry you never know how well it will work, but thankfully this one managed to bring all the laughs, heart and strong message this series has become known for. Sure there are some over the top silly moments that are just plain dumb, but that is part of the charm. What is great is that they bring real world problems to address to the frontline with seriousness while still keeping the laughs coming.
Ice Cube has offered up some great roles in his career, but his role in this franchise feels like it allows the audience to see more of who he is now as a family man and in turn makes him more believable. Cedric the Entertainer always steals every scene in these films, but is pivotal as the voice of experience and history to the story and always brings it home. The rest of the cast all did a great job with the most surprising being that of Nicki Minaj who ended up being a lot of fun to watch. Some of the best scenes are those of them just riffing about random topics in the shop and thankfully they let those flow freely and frequently.
If you are a fan of the franchise then this is a great addition and a must see. It manages to keep it on the same level and in some ways is better than the original with the real world issues more fresh in our minds. If you have never seen any of these films then do yourself a favor and check them out you might be surprised in the fun and powerful messages they put out. While there is no telling if we will be getting to visit the shop after this, but if not this one manages to bring it full circle and not only serve as a great cap to the series, but also a refresher into these characters lives.