While it has been a few years since the last Barbershop movie, Barbershop: The Next Cut provides a different take on the comical franchise series that we have all know and love. With sequels, especially in the realm of comedy, fans are usually greeted with low-level humor. In many ways, these comical films try to spark that initial ingredient that helped proliferated the first installment to become famous within the public’s eye. But with the Next Cut, we are seeing a new take on the franchise where the movie has made it a point to highlight the societal inequities of poverty and social injustice that continues to plague our nation today. Yes, the commercial and celebrity appeal continues to feature a plethora of actors and hip-hop all-stars such as Tyga and Nicki Minaj. But what truly anchors this movie within the Barbershop series is their sense of urgency within the problems of today’s society. Because of that, there has been a wide range of appeal for the new movie and has been given phenomenal positive feedback and popularity from critics and fans alike.
Now, true and true, the franchise continues its appeal with various drama and gossip that circles around the barbershop. With the overarching dilemma of ‘selling the shop’ continuing to persist within Calvin’s mind, the more prevalent idea is the concept of ‘making it out.’ In many ways, the film highlights a prevailing theme that has called on the social justice movement within today’s world. Unlike other places, under-resources and under-represented urban communities such as the south side of Chicago are not facing the simple personal dramas that we see in most popular television series and movies. Instead, the film highlights the extreme difficulties of poverty, gang violence, and social injustice that have continued to take the nation by storm. With countless gun violence incidences happening today, Next Cut made it a point to discuss these issues in a more open-minded format. While it does hover around their open-ended arguments and countless personal squabbles, the theme within Next Cut is clear, change needs to happen.
To spark this, the Barbershop crew takes on the difficult challenge of gun violence and community safety by igniting a truce between gang rivals with free haircuts. Living in the realm of reality, Next Cut tries to set the stage where this type of protest can happen. With a community forum, debates, and various impending challenges such as the death of one of their youngest helpers, the movie makes sure to underline the gravity of this ever-prevailing problem. As disheartening as the characters felt, the spark of for transformative change provided an underlying hope of what can be achieved if given some time.
Now, above all, many other political and social topics were tastefully discussed in the film. While some shows, even interviews, try to force the topic on the viewer, Next Cut is able to provide that natural and organic atmosphere for the viewers to truly internalize and understand the problems and discussions of today. These topics include President Obama’s legacy, sexism, gang violence, immigration, Black Lives Matter causes, and other complicated issues with family and socio-economic struggle. As difficult as it maybe to include all of these topics, the sincere and boisterous tone of the overall setting within the film helps acknowledge the real personal and social anguish of particular individuals going through this struggle today. That type of humanistic approach is simply rare within the movie business and at the level they do it in, it has to be recognized.
So if you haven’t watched the Next Cut, try and make it a part of your Netflix list. There will definitely be some enjoyable heart filled moments. But the imperative call for action is simply a commitment to our society’s constant need for change.