Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Barbershop 2: Back in Business

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Ice Cube as Calvin
Cedric the Entertainer as Eddie
Sean Patrick Thomas as Jimmy
Eve as Terri
Troy Garity as Isaac
Michael Ealy as Ricky
Leonard Earl Howze as Dinka
Harry J. Lennix as Quentin Leroux
Robert Wisdom as Alderman Brown
Jazsmin Lewis as Jennifer
Carl Wright as Checkers Fred
DeRay Davis as Hustle Guy
Kenan Thompson as Kenard
Queen Latifah as Gina
Garcelle Beauvais as Loretta

Special Features:
Commentary by Cedric the Entertainer, Sean Patrick Thomas, Troy Garity, and Jazsmin Lewis

Commentary by director Kevin Rodney Sullivan and producers Robert Teitel and George Tillman Jr.

Theatrical trailer(s)

Deleted scenes

Outtakes

Extended music video: Mary J. Blige featuring Eve, "Not Today"

Music video: Sleepy Brown featuring Outkast, "I Can't Wait"

Behind-the-scenes photo gallery

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Language Tracks
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

Synopsis:
This is the sequel to the 2002 film Barbershop.

Calvin and the gang return with their old fashioned barbershop in Chicago. However, their place of business is more than just a barbershop – it's also a central gathering place in the community and a symbol of private business.

But Calvin's barbershop is threatened when a snazzy haircutting franchise moves in across the street. Nappy Cuts threatens to take away Calvin's customers and destroy his business. It's up to Calvin and the gang to rally and keep the barbershop in business.

Meanwhile, we are treated to backstory on Eddie, the old, outspoken, sometimes lazy fixture in the shop. You learn about how he came to be associated with the shop, why Calvin's father accepted him in, and more about his love life.

Barbershop 2: Back In Business is rated PG-13 for language, sexual material and brief drug references.

The Movie:
I missed Barbershop when it hit theaters, but I was able to catch Barbershop 2 as it hit DVD. I can't comment on how the two films compare, but I can say that you don't have to see the first film to follow the sequel. It stands pretty well on its own.

Barbershop 2 is primarily a character comedy. The plot isn't much to speak of and it's not original. What makes Barbershop 2 entertaining, though, is the interaction between the characters in the shop. Their aimless banter, joking, and political commentary keep things rolling and are the main attraction of the film. (Though I will say I didn't appreciate their making light of the D.C. sniper. I didn't think that was appropriate.) The cast is filled with a colorful group of characters, all with their own strengths and weaknesses which not only make them human, but more endearing.

Leading the cast is Ice Cube as Calvin. He's the tough owner of the shop and a pillar in his community. While Ice Cube isn't exactly a dynamic performer, he does have the semi-serious nature required for his character. Cedric the Entertainer definitely steals the show as Eddie. His performance is over-the-top, but it is amusing in many ways. The flashbacks of him as a young man are also funny and add depth to his character. Eve is also notable as Terri, the only female in this male dominated environment. She's cute and sassy and a good contrast to the other characters. Kenan Thompson also comes in and steals the show as Kenard. He's a bit toned down from his other roles, but his performance is still over the top, too. But fortunately that fits in with this cast. A scene where he gives his first haircut to a community leader is quite funny. Queen Latifah also has a brief cameo as Gina.

As solid as the movie is on characters and dialogue, it just wasn't my kind of film. I like my movies to have a more structured story whereas this one wandered about at a leisurely pace. I also think people in the black community are going to appreciate the jokes more than I did. It speaks more to their interests and daily life than mine, so I never really got into it. The movie is also filled with rap music which I don't like. So based on my own personal preferences, I rated this film lower. Obviously you'll rate it differently depending on your personal tastes.

The Extras:
There are quite a few extras included on this DVD. Here are the highlights:

Commentary by Cedric the Entertainer, Sean Patrick Thomas, Troy Garity, and Jazsmin Lewis – This is the better of the two commentaries. The discussion is lively and they discuss all aspects of the film from the characters to the production to the looks of the actors. Jazsmin Lewis really helps the discussion move along by asking questions when the talk slows.

Commentary by director Kevin Rodney Sullivan and producers Robert Teitel and George Tillman Jr. – This commentary is more geared towards the making of the film and the production than the other commentary. If you're interested in the technical aspects of the making of the movie, then this is the one to listen to.

Deleted scenes – There are six deleted scenes. They can be viewed with introductions by the cast, some commentary, or neither. One shows Calvin's wife dropping his son off at the shop followed up by an introduction to the competing Nappy Cuts owner and a setup of Kenan getting a job. The second scene shows a hip-hop Japanese couple walking into the shop to get haircuts. The third shows the Nappy Cuts owner showing up at the barbeque while the fourth shows Cedric and Kenan improvising dialogue during the end of the barbeque scene. The last two show Calvin scratching his head about what to do with the shop and Eve doing a little Tai Chi. The introductions aren't really insightful or helpful, so they are a bit of a waste. The scenes aren't that great, either, so they are no big loss from the film.

Outtakes – This is your typical blooper reel showing flubbed lines, jokes behind the scenes, etc. It is fun to watch.

Extended music video: Mary J. Blige featuring Eve, "Not Today" – Most of the secondary cast members appear at the beginning of this video. (In fact, they're in almost half of it leading up to the song.) It then moves into the music video. As I already stated, I'm not a fan of rap or pop music, so this wasn't that appealing to me. However, I did like the fact that it tied into the movie more than most music videos.

Music video: Sleepy Brown featuring Outkast, "I Can't Wait" – This video has little to do with the film Barbershop and it is more rap which I don't care for. It also features some hoodlums holding up a restaurant while their leader sings a song to a girl there. I can't think of a guy better to bring home to the folks than a rapping thug.

The Bottom Line:
Black audiences will get a bigger kick out of this film than other audiences, but the colorful characters and amusing dialogue may make it interesting to wider audiences.

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