A day in the life of a barbershop on the south side of Chicago. Calvin, who inherited the struggling business from his deceased father, views the shop as nothing but a burden and waste of his time. After selling the shop to a local loan shark, Calvin slowly begins to see his father's vision and legacy and struggles with the notion that he just sold it out.
A movie featuring Ice Cube bellowing "No more profanity!" — and meaning it — should produce a lot more laughs than this intermittently amusing sequel. This film seems to be "All About the Benjamins," to use the title of an Ice Cube action comedy. Most of the decisions involving this sequel to the spirited original "Barbershop" — a movie that itself cobbled together pieces of other projects — are about carefully retracing the steps of that 2002 hit in order to keep those $100 Benjamins flowing. But although Ice Cube's business sense is right on the money, the minor surprises of the first film are gone. Ice Cube returns as star and executive producer of "Barbershop 2." His Calvin Palmer provides the common sense that holds the shop together, a glue it desperately needs. When the moneyed inner-city entrepreneur Quentin Leroux (Harry Lennix) builds a lavish competitor called Nappy Cutz right across the street from Calvin's shop, the battle is on — Calvin has to fight to keep his business alive. The bittersweet aspects of the film add texture, though they can't supplant the lack of comedy; there were more laughs in Ice Cube's last picture, "Torque." — Elvis Mitchell
2004-02-06 | Elvis Mitchell | Read the New York Times Review of Barbershop 2: Back in Business
In this warm, generous, messy neighborhood comedy, Ice Cube plays Calvin, the owner of a Chicago barbershop. The business, which he inherited from his father, is struggling, and Calvin's heart is no longer in it. In the course of a single, hectic winter day, he comes to appreciate the values of fellowship and community a good haircut represents and to appreciate his own role in promoting them. The picture's easygoing honesty prevents it from sliding into sentimentality, and some fine comic acting, in particular from Cedric the Entertainer as the shop's resident wise man and political provocateur, keeps it moving, despite pedestrian direction and a somewhat overstuffed plot. — A. O. Scott
2002-09-13 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of Barbershop