Thursday, May 5, 2016


Directed By: Malcolm D. Lee 
Written By: Kenya Barris & Tracy Oliver 
Based on Characters Created By: Mark Brown 
Cinematography By: Greg Gardiner 
Editor: Paul Millspaugh 

Cast: Ice Cube, Common, Cedric The Entertainer, Deon Cole, Regina Hall, Eve, Anthony Anderson, J.B. Smoove, Nicki Minaj, Troy Garity, Lamorne Morris, Sean Patrick Thomas, Jazsmin Lewis, Tyga, Margot Bingham, Utkarsh Ambudkar

It's been more than 10 years since our last appointment at Calvin's Barbershop. Calvin and his longtime crew are still there, but the shop has undergone some major changes. Most noticeably, our once male-dominated sanctuary is now co-ed. The ladies bring their own flavor, drama and gossip to the shop challenging the fellas at every turn. Despite the good times and camaraderie within the shop, the surrounding community has taken a turn for the worse, forcing Calvin and our crew to come together to not only save the shop, but their neighborhood.

This film offers the same old familiar hijinks of the previous films. So that the film like the others is still entertaining and fun.

As with each film the comedic centerpiece isn't necessarily mainly Cedric The Entertaienr. Other cast members get a chance to be funny. As this one really pushes to be more of an ensemble.

The film is more diverse in It's cast, just like the last film only more female interaction. This time not needing to go to other locations to have that interaction. As now the barbershop had a hair salon In it. This time around the sole Caucasian cast member only has a small part. As this time the film includes a middle eastern character. Who is less a stereotype then the sole middle eastern character in the previous films.

The film seems to have a point and a message this time around. That already endears itself and gives the film more of an important plot. Which seemed to be missing in the last film.

Though at the middle it does have the familiar plight of Ice Cube's character selling or moving the shop.

This film while not as funny as the past films. As it's humor seems a bit more softball. Though staying topical to a degree. But it is still funny enough. Though the humor here seems more scripted and not as improv heavy.

The film does throw some surprises in convention when it comes to the good kid in trouble storyline. How they flipped the role and here the main characters son, spoiled to a degree, thought to be innocent is the actual bad influence on the more troubled rebellious kid.

Most of the comedians in the cast are humorous and have a good scene or two to make themselves shine. Though I wish Actors Lamorne Morris and Margot Bingham had more to do

Malcolm D. lee directs the film with more purpose and gravity that he has bring to his previous BEST MAN films and ROLL BOUNCE. As this film seems a bit more respectable and not as scattershot as the last film seemed to be.

The rapper Common seems here more for star power and noteriety as he character Terri's (played by Eve) husband. Their domestic problems are explored bit that is more of a b story here. Though at least it shows domestic struggles of a modern day African American couple. Though partly his casting is noteworthy as him And ice cube had beef a rap rivalry in the 90's. So intense, It was rumored that Louis Farrakhan was consulted to bring about peace between the two men. So here they are co-starring as friends. Who later have a parting of ways due to family. Then manage to come together. As well as do a song for the soundtrack together. Is a sort of mirror almost of their reality.

Eve, has always had the previous angry comedic relief role. as well as bombshell and usually a love interest. So here it is nice to see her settle down though still have that temper. Her role here is more relaxed. Though she feels missing a lot of times in scenes to give the new cast members more screen time.

Cedric the entertainer seems more natural and relaxed in his role. Though not as shocking or oversized. He seems like the series mascot of sorts.

Nicki Minaj fares better in her acting here. Then in previous roles as in THE OTHER WOMAN. As she seeks to be playing on her famous public image as a bombshell. Here she does come off as a screen goddess. As here character is vital but is more eye candy as the temptress. She has the most colorful outfits.

The film was co-written by Kenya Morris who is the show runner and writer of the popular television series BLACKISH

Which would explain Anthony Anderson playing a role in the film. Though not sure if this is a reprisal of his character from the first film it a totally new character. It reminds me of the same dilemma of the 1970's and 80's where you would have certain actors on shows like DIFFERENT STROKES, GOOD TIMES and WHAT'S HAPPENING; Actor Teddy Wilson in particular who played major roles initially then would come back and guest star in different roles like the audience wasn't supposed to notice or would be overjoyed by their return and presence. In the end it hair showed how versatile actors they were. It seemed back then it was more relaxed and didn't matter as long as they did a good job. Creating a new character as Mr. Anderson does here. Making the film feel like it is full of all stars.

You get what you would Expect from this of film, it is still a fun ride. That isn't insulting or patronizing. Not dependent on any single star as comedic talent.

I give the filmmakers and star ice cube credit for creating a successful series of films that might not be that dramatic depth, but is a fun comedic look at family, culture and traditions that revolve around African-American characters and community. Showing a more positive light, but acknowledging the Trails and tribulations. It knows what is happening in the streets.

A successful franchise that stays the same but manages to feel fresh with each new film.

Grade: C+

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