Calvin, Eddie, Terri, Jimmy, Isaac, Ricky, and Dinka are open for business again at Calvin's Barbershop. Gina, a stylist at the beauty shop next door, is now trying to cut in on his business. Calvin is again struggling to keep his father's shop and traditions alive--this time against urban developers looking to replace "mom & pop" establishments with name-brand chains. The world changes, but some things never go out of style--from current events and politics to relationships and love, you can still say anything you want at the barbershop.
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