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"Barbershop 2: Back in Business"

Directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan.
Written by Don D. Scott.
Starring Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer and Queen Latifah.
Release Year:  2004 
Review Date:  2/11/04


Finally!  With “Barbershop 2”, I finally found a film that I have been wanting to see in the young days of 2004...and the wait was actually worth it.

That’s because producer/star Ice Cube took the worst part of the original “Barbershop”—a stupid subplot featuring two guys that were trying to track down a standalone ATM machine—and tossed it out to feature more scenes with Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer) in flashbacks from the Chicago of 1967.  Just this one change makes “Barbershop 2” worth seeing.  Sure, the main plot line hasn’t changed from the first film; people are once again trying to get rid of the old neighborhood barbershop that Calvin (Cube) has been running at 79th and Exchange.  This time, though, it’s a dirty city politician (Robert Wisdom) and a rival barber chain owner (Harry Lennix) that try to squeeze Calvin and his crew out of house and home.  Only with the help of his other barbers, like Eddie, Ricky (Michael Ealy), Terri (Eve) and Dinka (Leonard Earl Howze), will Calvin figure out a way to take down Nappy Cutz and the city government.

Director Kevin Rodney Sullivan (“How Stella Got Her Groove Back”) does his best work in the shop itself; like the first film, the feeling captured by the filmmakers of black folks hangin’ out in the black barbershop is perfect, from the yelling, to the music, to the mix of old folks and young folks, to the superstar barber, to the misinformed politics, to the rookie barber that no one wants to get a cut from...and, in the sequel, there’s just more of these scenes, so I spent a lot more time laughing in “Barbershop 2” than I did during the first film.  And wisely, there’s just more Cedric.  By getting to play both the younger Eddie in the flashback scenes and the older one of the present day, we just get more snippets of him running around being silly, and this makes the film 10 times better, seriously.  The introduction of Kenan Thompson as rookie cutman Kenard (where’s Kel??) works, as does a brief turn by Queen Latifah as Gina, a beauty shop stylist.  Judging from a trailer in front of “Barbershop 2”, they are making a third movie in this series based on the Latifah character, which is a logical transition for the series that might open things up a little for growth in the near future.

The lack of originality of the plotline and a predictable ending took a little bit away for me.  Also, as I mentioned in the “Barbershop” Bellview (Matinee), there just isn’t enough profanity for a film based in a black barbershop.  Still, this is strong stuff.  And, there’s little things about “Barbershop 2” that made my mom and I lose it at the theater yesterday.  Like when you see Gina take some food from the barbecue, and Eddie utters to nobody in particular, “I betchu that link don’t even make it inside”...and then you see Gina sneak half of the hot link in one bite just before going back to her beauty shop.  Or the fact that the superstar barber in this sequel is the white guy, Isaac (Troy Garity)...and watching him twirl his razor from side to side as he achieves the perfect fade is good stuff.  Or just the interior of the Nappy Cutz shop is enough to afford some laughs:  EVERYBODY knows that black people would never have a barbershop this nice, with fish tanks spread throughout and massage chairs at every station, so when the staff from Calvin’s shop gets a peek at the goods, they naturally fall over themselves...but, they stay a while just to hang out and imagine life in the lap of luxury.

Good times, and it just misses out on top dog status.  Plus, since we saw this up in Wheaton, the crowd was 100% black and Latino, which makes every black movie better (believe dat!).

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09