It’s no surprise now in cinema that many franchises whether they’re comedic, action, or horror based are returning to theaters in ways as a long lost sequel, or a retelling. There’s been a lot of these films lately but I don’t think that any type of these films in recent history surprised me as much as “Barbershop 3″ did. Growing up in the south, more urban themed films such as “Barbershop,” “Save the Last Dance,” and “Brown Sugar” were often the movies to be put on the big screen and manage to sell out, even on the second weekend. There’s a certain aspect you get with those films, as well as a rare form of comedy. When you actually look at cinema today, a lot of the middle movies like dramas and comedies that aren’t really made anymore, but these films are still made and do well when the cast is predominately African American. So growing up in the south I had and still do have an appreciation for these films. Although they’ve gotten more sex driven and over the top scandalous, “Barbershop 3″ at least gets credit for keeping to the heart and hopefulness from the previous films that came 10 years ago, but it still falls very short of the first two films.
I was quite excited upon seeing the trailer to see Ice Cube, Eve, Sean Patrick Thomas, and others for returning, as well as some new cast members such as Regina Hall, from the Scary Movie franchise. Although I had no interest in Nikki Minaj or the man who can’t act, Common. The story set up is quite simple. Ice Cube has turned his barber shop into a somewhat upscale half barbershop, half beauty parlor set in the not-so-safe Chicago neighborhoods. Ice Cube’s son is friend’s with Common’s son and they basically lead the story. Common’s son is already starting to get on the wrong side of the law, and Ice Cube’s son decides they may want to be initiated into a gang. So now that the streets have become a scary place for everyone, Ice Cube tries to set up a cease fire between the two warring gangs, but he realizes its quite risky, and considers moving his shop uptown, putting the rest of the crew out of a job.
The problem here is that you have such a large cast that in many ways represent some of the best comedic talent you could ask for but the problem is (with the exception of Ice Cube) that everyone’s characters are a mess. There’s this weird love triangle between Nikki Minaj, Common, and Eve, which falls flat. Cedric the Entertainer feels brought back only to do nothing until towards the end of the movie. Sean Patrick Thomas and Anthony Anderson were pretty much glorified cameos, which was upsetting because I don’t know what they could have been doing to keep them from having a more predominant role. Regina Hall has a nice scene with Ice Cube, but you don’t get to really appreciate it due to all the characters being watered down. The movie has a shockingly political stance for what you’d expect of the franchise.
It wasn’t long into the movie that I not only realized I hadn’t laughed, but that I was pretty much having a US politics course thrown into my face. While all this talk of gangs and streets going on, there is little to no humor to the film. Now let me start off by saying I really enjoy the first two films, and I’ve continued to watch them over the past 10 or so years, and I really like these types of films. However I must say I’m disappointed that they took something that had heart and humor, and turned it into a two hour political debate. Although I can understand how the message was important, but it shouldn’t have been the driving force of the film. It made me not care for the characters, but you can’t deny the feel that this film represents what you’d expect a barbershop to be like, especially in downtown Chicago.
Putting all of this into a pot, I really must say this is a let down for the franchise. I even disliked the title. I went back and watched the first Barbershop, and you can see the difference in movies 15 years ago compared to now, and what should be lighthearted fun with a good message becomes a serious message with a tad if any humor. I’d have to say Barbershop 3 is the worst and most pointless of them all. There seriously could be a drinking game; for every time Nikki Minaj looks fake as hell, take a shot, if there’s a zoom in of her fake butt, take a shot, and you will be plastered 10 minutes into this movie, which may be the best way to view it. I would really not recommend this one guys, as it has Netflix written all over it
Written by Kory Davis