• by Wes Singleton

Review: Barbershop: The Next Cut, B-

Rated PG-13, 112 minutes

"Barbershop: The Next Cut" isn't the fresh, bold cut it's billed as, but it'll do just fine for most who see it, I'm sure. The latest installment in the charming but familiar "Barbershop" comedy film series gets enough laughs to keep its customers satisfied for a bit. To survive harsh economic times, Calvin (Ice Cube) and Angie (Regina Hall) have merged the barbershop and beauty salon. As the battle of the sexes rages on in the shop, a different kind of conflict has taken over South Chicago. Crime and gangs are on the rise, leaving Calvin worried about the fate of his son. Together, the friends, including Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer) and Rashad (Common), come up with a bold plan to take back their beloved neighborhood. Directed by Malcolm D. Lee of "The Best Man" film series, the pleasant yet uneven "Barbershop: The Next Cut" serves up its typical, silly string of jokes alongside the same old story to save the shop and the community around it. Lots of things have changed in the 12 years since we last visited Calvin's shop, but one thing is for sure, stealing most of the laughs and getting in the best lines from the large, familiar cast still goes to Cedric the Entertainer's Eddie, who riffs on everything from Obama to women to guns, though it doesn't hurt a few cast members have been added, mostly for eye candy (Nicki Minaj and Common) and some for laughs too (Lamorne Morris, JB Smoove and Anthony Anderson returns). The movie clearly works best as a comedy, and is best when everyone is hanging out at the shop cracking jokes and teasing each other about everything under the sun; the subplot revolving around gangs and improving the community becomes too preachy down the stretch, and doesn't really accomplish or change much at Calvin's Barbershop, and if nothing else is a nice tribute to Chicago. The enjoyable "Barbershop: The Next Cut" gives you a look that you will enjoy as you leave the theater: a big smile.

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