Reviewed by: Gabriel Mohler
|Featuring:|| Ice Cube … Calvin Palmer
Margot Bingham … Bree
Common … Rashad
Anthony Anderson … J.D.
Nicki Minaj … Draya
Regina Hall … Angie
Garcelle Beauvais … Loretta
Lamorne Morris … Jerrod
Inder Kumar … Counsler / Supporter at Court House
Troy Garity … Issac
Eve … Terri
Utkarsh Ambudkar … Raja
Sean Patrick Thomas … Jimmy James
Cedric the Entertainer … Eddie
|Director:||Malcolm D. Lee—“The Best Man Holiday” (2013), “The Best Man” (1999), “Undercover Brother” (2002)|
|Distributor:||New Line Cinema, division of Warner Bros. Pictures|
PG-13 comedy is so unpredictable. Sometimes the rating is only because of a few scattered profanities and mild sexual references; other times it’s because of excessive dirty language and raunchy sexual scenes. (This is one reason we write these reviews—so you can be aware of the content and not blindly lean on the MPAA.) I have found very few PG-13 comedies that I would call “decent,” but they do exist. However, I know I’m not the only one to notice that the sequels to such comedies often “up” the crude humor. “Meet the Parents” is probably the best example. The first film was flawed, but very sweet and enjoyable; whereas the dumb sequels just got cruder and cruder. So when I applied to review “Barbershop: The Next Cut,” I knew my main question would be “Is it worthy of the first film’s moral rating of Average?”
In the story, the barbershop team becomes increasingly concerned with the amount of violence in the neighborhood, and they have to decide if they should move the shop and how they should protect their children. Fortunately, very little violence is shown. It is mostly just heard and discussed, and there is no blood—not even close.
Another thing the team has to deal with, on a more individual level, is the mistakes their children and spouses are making. It’s refreshing to see Hollywood put out a movie that so strongly encourages parents to bond with their children and spouses, to love each other through the hard times. There are lessons about submission, forgiveness, responsibility, and care.
Despite one character’s call for everyone to watch their language, no one does. The s-word and *ss are a quite frequent part of the dialog, as are the b-word, d*mn, h*ll to a lesser extent. There is one f-word and one middle finger display, and occasional misuse of God’s name. I was also surprised to hear several uses of n*gga.
There is also too much immodest dressing and some sexualized shots of women (including a scene of twerking). A few characters display plenty of cleavage throughout, and the camera occasional ogles a disproportionately bulgy hiney. There’s not a ton of sexual talk throughout, but there’s a pretty long sexual conversation at the beginning. There are also two crude sex invitations, but it’s worth noting that one is not condoned (being, more specifically, an affair invitation), and the other one is from a wife to her husband. The man accepts neither, and the situation is redeemed at the end.
Politically, this is a very two-faced film. It’s not afraid to portray African American crimes as common in such areas (which is considered politically incorrect), but there are also a few anti-white jokes (all the main characters are black). There is also a brief discussion in favor of gay marriage. It’s one of those films that made me think “What would be different if the protagonists were trusting in God, praying for wisdom, and reading the Bible?” Seeing people try to make things right and give their families the best, without God, should encourage us to pray for such people more often. I can’t help but commend the protagonists for trying so hard to do what little they can to correct the problems in their downtown. Many of their solutions are Biblical, and good is rewarded.
This film isn’t too bad. It’s one of those films that muddles the line between Average and Offensive. It wasn’t an immediately obvious choice for me to make; I had to give it thought. The reason I went with Offensive is because the positive isn’t worth the negative. Sure, the negative isn’t too strong overall, but the positive messages can be found in plenty of cleaner movies that deliver it much better. “Courageous” is the first one that comes to mind. It’s a police flick, not a comedy (though don’t be fooled, it has some hilarious moments), but it deals with the same issues of family and violence in the suburbs. “Barbershop: The Next Cut” is entertaining, and even touching in a few moments, but, in the end, it’s forgettable. If you’re a fan of the previous films and just have to see this one, then go ahead. Otherwise, don’t bother.
Violence: Mild to moderate / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…clearly the best of the series… manages to be entertaining and thoughtful, harmless fun, but just serious enough not to seem frivolous. …
—Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times
…Blending real-world topicality and battle-of-the-sexes playfulness in a way that may remind some of Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq,” but in a much more familiar and crowd-pleasing franchise mold…
—Justin Chang, Variety
…despite its being more than a little rough around the edges, “Barbershop: The Next Cut” has an underlying sweetness that's hard to resist…
—Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
…sharp dialogue, dull plot… [3½/4]
—Rafer Guzmán, Long Island Newsday
…mostly coasts along on one-liners and banter… Low-key, wholesome sequel aimed at Ice Cube’s older fans…
—Daniel Eagan, Film Journal International
…The film is a pop sonata of stand-up comedy routines layered with, if not vitality, then at least honest energy… 
—Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
…merely a couple of hours spent in the pleasant company of friendly people… it might be the best of the three.
—Scott Mendelson, Forbes
…very funny… General topics include: sex; relationships between men and women; politics, from municipal to the White House; police violence; gang violence; infidelity; slanguage (a word I just made up to annoy Eddie); community activism; and race. …
—Chris Knight, National Post