The fourth entry in the Barbershop franchise delivers keen social commentary, bringing back many of the key players from the 2002 and 2004 installments (the 2005 spin-off Beauty Shop is best forgotten). The unisex barbershop of the title is a pillar of its south-side neighborhood, yet owner Ice Cube must contend with gun violence on the streets and fears that his son is being courted by a local street gang. Without shying away from complexity, director Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man Holiday) shows how strong fatherhood and civic activism can engender social progress. And as always, the barbers and their regulars debate race, gender, and sexuality, their spirited rap sessions smart and nuanced. With Regina Hall, Cedric the Entertainer, Anthony Anderson, Eve, and Common.
By Leah Pickett