REVIEW: NOLA Circus (2017)

nolacircus

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2017, Xlrator Media/Illicit Producers/Highfun/Nola Circus Productions

Director:
Luc Annest
Producers:
Arnaud Bettan
Luc Annest
Writer:
Luc Annest
Cinematography:
Andrew Strahorn
Editing:
Sarah Chartier

Cast:
Martin Bradford (Will)
Jessica Morali (Nola)
Reginal Vance (Devin)
Vas Blackwood (Marvin)
Kamille McCuin (Karen)
Nicoye Banks (Kahn)
Corey Mendell Parker (Hathi)
Ricky Wayne (Giuseppe)
Dave Davies (Vinny)
Robert Catrini (Marcello)
Candice Michele Barley (Amanda)
Taryn Terrell (Sabrina)
Raylee Magill (Yolanda)

A cast of eclectic characters surround this tale of rival barbershops in New Orleans in this hilarious comedy from director Luc Annest.

Since being a kid, Will has always wanted to keep one thing and that is his trademark Afro hairstyle. Will eventually opens his own barbershop and he has a discreet relationship with Nola. Nola’s older half brother Devin is way too overprotective and despite Nola’s plea to just let him know about their relationship, Will is scared of Devin. He proves this by accusing pizza delivery men of hitting on Nola, in which Devin retaliates by beating up an entire staff of a local pizzeria, and the pizzeria’s owner, Giuseppe, decides to takes things in his own hands.

Meanwhile, Will has a rivalry in terms of his business with Marvin, who will go to great lengths to get what he wants and that doesn’t only pertain to his business being successful, but his relationship with Karen. Karen is somewhat of a pill dealer whose relationship with Marvin is slowly beginning to unravel. Meanwhile, Giuseppe has hired friend and hitman Enzo to come to New Orleans to find Denzel. And if that’s not chaotic enough, Will finds himself under threat from the Ku Klux Klan? When all these stories connect, will this area return to its quiet neighborhood or will the inevitable happen?

Set in the Big Easy, New Orleans, this comedy from Luc Annest is hilarious. It may not have the big budget of similarly themed films like the Barbershop films, but it’s quite funny nearly in that vein. The film is set all within a day in a small usually quiet area of the city where two rival barbershops are the basis. When it comes to these films being set all within a day, it is guaranteed that there will be eclectic and eccentric characters that help drive that comic wit to the film and this film delivers on exactly that.

The narrator is our central character Will, played by Martin Bradford, who just loves three things: running a business, his Afro, and his girlfriend Nola, played by Jessica Morali. While Will has a successful business, it is his relationship with Nola (a double meaning to the film’s title as NOLA is also short for New Orleans, Louisiana) that is iffy because he is scared of Devin, Nola’s older half-brother. Reginal Vance is hilarious as the blonde Afro-sporting Devin, who will remind you of Tiny Lister’s Deebo in Friday. He is clearly the neighborhood bully who upon hearing anyone getting involved with his sister gets their butt kicked.

The film also brings a bit of reminiscence of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing in terms of the character of pizza delivery boy Vinny, who will remind one of Roger Guenveur Smith’s Smiley. The character of Giuseppe is hysterically played by Ricky Wayne as we see him going in full Robert De Niro-style as a revenge seeking pizzeria owner who wants revenge on Devin. Marvin, Will’s business rival, is also hilariously played by Mean Machine actor Vas Blackwood, who can be seen as an extremist with an insane fetish that becomes the catalyst for his unraveling relationship with pill popper and dealer Karen, played in femme fatale mode at times by Kamille McCuin.

NOLA Circus truly has a double meaning in its title and it is a hilarious film. If you like films such as Barbershop and even Nora’s Hair Salon, add this to your list of barbershop comedies with a great cast of eclectic and funny characters.

WFG RATING: A-

Xlrator Media will release this film in theaters on April 21st and on iTunes and VOD on April 25th.

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