Dateworthy? Barbershop: The Next Cut

Plenty of movies can be entertaining, and some are blatantly designed to have a message. But it’s truly a rare occasion when a movie manages to be both truly funny and downright important.
I’m as surprised as anyone reading this to say that statement fits the latest movie in the “Barbershop” series of movies, “Barbershop: The Next Cut.” But this is the third movie in a series that has portrayed positive role models for the black community while offering meaningful truths that are universal to anyone, and this time it couldn’t be more timely or profound in its attempt to address the insanity of violence on the streets of Chicago as well as the nation.

Lead barber Calvin (Ice Cube) is still trying to make it in his barber shop on the South Side of Chicago, but the recession has forced him to team up with a beauty salon that makes the movie now have a strong balance of male and female characters that greatly improves the already solid comic performances and writing of the first two movies. With his son 14 years old now and getting rebellious, Calvin is concerned he’ll join a gang and ruin his life.

Meanwhile, Calvin’s opening narration shows Chicago to be the nightmare it is in real life: overrun with violence, gangs and broken homes. Calvin is inspired to stand up against the crime wave and tricks two rival gang leaders into meeting and having a 48 hour cease fire, during which time he and his fellow barbers and stylists will bring the community together with a marathon of free haircuts and discussion of social problems.

Other shenanigans happen, as the barbers banter and argue about politics, relationships and much more, and as various people experience romantic entanglements and misunderstandings, which are handled with taste and discretion. While this movie is entertaining, it’s also invaluable and important for addressing the fact that governments can’t save communities, but only personal values and standing up for good can do so.

And as a surprising bonus, Calvin seriously considers sending his son to Catholic school because he considers the public school as failing the good kids like his son. When his son complains “I don’t know anyone at Catholic school,” Calvin replies “Maybe you need some Catholics in your life!” It’s a dead serious moment, and stunning coming from Ice Cube, who started his career as a gangsta rapper.

Freeflowing with plenty of funny and serious moments, BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT feels like a true labor of love from all involved, and an important message of individuals handling social problems rather than relying on government assistance to save them. There are also beautiful messages of the importance of fathers and intact homes, and as such, teens and adults should overlook the plethora of mild profanities and see this movie.

It’s not just a “black” movie, it’s a human one. And one that is necessary and vital unlike anything else to come out of Hollywood in a very long time. And with its mix of humor, values and romance, it’s an eminently Dateworthy one as well.