'Barbershop: The Next Cut' Movie Review

The comedy is loaded with social commentary.

ByABC News
April 15, 2016, 12:36 PM

— -- Rated: (PG-13)

Starring: Ice Cube, Regina Hall and Cedric The Entertainer

Three-and-a-half out of five stars.

Ice Cube is back as Calvin, owner of the barbershop that’s also half a salon owned by Angie (Regina Hall). Both are starting to feel the weight of the senseless gang violence plaguing their South Side Chicago neighborhood.

In the past, Calvin could and has lived with the violence, but he realizes this isn’t the life he wants for his 14-year-old son, Jalen (Michael Rainey Jr.). As for everybody else, they just want their neighborhood back and the violence to end.

The group lures the rival gang leaders to the shop and propose a weekend truce, in which gang members, and anyone else who wants it, can get a free haircut, weave or style of their choosing.

Despite the neighborhood’s downward spiral, the barbershop’s arsenal of terrific and hilarious personalities, most notably resident old-timer Eddie (Cedric The Entertainer), Dante (Deon Cole) and One-Stop (J.B. Smoove), will keep audiences laughing throughout.

There are also heavier moments, like when Calvin lectures Jalen after ordering his only child to stay home over the weekend to avoid the inevitable neighborhood violence, and the gang vying for Jalen’s allegiance.

“What? You want me to hang out with the cornball the cleans the shop?” says Jalen, referring to the young man who helps out at Calvin’s barbershop.

Calvin snaps at Jalen, “What’s wrong with Anthony? Why is it corny to be smart? Why is it corny to do what you’re asked? Why is it corny to handle your business? That’s not corny, son. That’s being a man.”

This moment, and other similar ones loaded with social commentary, could have easily seemed out of place in a franchise that relies more on gimmicky performances from talented people who are entertainers first, actors second (or maybe even third). But while Ice Cube and company set out to be funny, they also set out to call attention to an awful situation on Chicago’s South Side.

To be sure, "Barbershop: The Next Cut" isn’t a great piece of cinema, but it is an entertaining movie with an important message, delivered by Ice Cube, a man gang bangers might listen to.