If you are a true movie aficionado, then you might be pleasantly surprised with Malcolm D. Lee’s directorial influence on the highly popular Barbershop franchise. Barbershop 3: the Next Cut opens in theaters on April 15, 2016 and is the latest comedic installment of the movie franchise. The movie follows the life of “conflicted good guy” Calvin Palmer (Ice Cube), a local barber and shop owner. However, different from its earlier plots, Calvin is no longer a sole proprietor but is a shop co-owner with his good friend Angie played by Regina Hall. This pairing creates a business marriage - of sorts - that turns the once testosterone driven sanctuary of trash talking men into a boys and girls club, where girls get to fire back a few trash talking jabs of their own.
Intertwined deeply into the movie is a public service announcement aimed at stopping the violence that has been spewing out on the streets of Chicago. And I must admit, Malcolm D. Lee used the first five minutes of the film to poetically accomplish what Chiraq could not do in its entire run-time. The premise of the movie is that Calvin is disenfranchised with his hometown. As a father and husband, he is struggling to keep his business afloat in a Southside community that has become plagued with gun violence and the proliferation of gang wars. He is now faced with the decision of whether or not to abandon his community in order to save his family, namely his son.
The movie features a strong cast of African American comics who are known to push the envelope on racy subject matters. The shop’s veteran barber Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer) and fast talking One-Stop (played by JB Smoove) bring a satirical edge to the movie that is at times a little corny. Heavy on screen time, these characters pave the way for some candid shop talk and major shade throwing at everyone from Barack Obama to R-Kelly. Another subplot in the movie includes the fragile marriage between two shop employees played by Common and Eve. The two argue, fight, and then make up – nothing we haven’t seen before.
Now I would be remiss not to inform you that the movie does contain a lot of irreverent behavior; so much, it makes the message seem a little contradictory at times. I mean watching hair stylist Draya (Niki Minaj) twerk in the camera as a way to “stop the violence” only perpetuates another type of malfeasance in urban communities. But I digress. Overall, the cast and the message behind the story make it a “must go see” movie. Although, I would strongly recommend parents make it a date night with their older children to discuss some of the adult situations that take place in the movie. Yet, I must applaud the cast for taking the risk to bring real issues to the big screen in such a way where we can take a look at our community with a lot of laughter, a few real tears, and hopefully a new resolve to stop the violence.