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Barbershop 2: Back in Business  (2004)


Starring: Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve, Troy Garity, Michael Elay, Leonard Earl Howze

Director: Kevin Rodney Sullivan

Rating: PG-13

Distributor: Buena Vista Home Entertainment

Release Date: June 29, 2004
Review posted: July 1, 2004

Spoilers: None


Reviewed by Dennis Landmann




Calvin (Cube) and his pals at the barbershop face yet another dilemma, and it's happening right across the street. A rival developer wants to cash in on the business by opening up a franchise barbershop. As it did in the original, life goes on, but not unless Calvin and the others do something about it.




Barbershop proved very successful for MGM two years ago, and without a doubt a sequel had to get made. The original film is funny and smart, but also tells an involving story with a nice set of characters. In Barbershop 2: Back in Business, nearly all of the major characters are back. Ice Cube plays the lead pretty well, but I also like the performances of Eve (The Cookout) and Troy Garity (A Soldier's Girl). New to the barbershop is Kenan Thompson (upcoming Fat Albert), but he's only okay, and Queen Latifah's "special appearance" is really nothing special at all. The acting is quite solid overall, though.


Director Kevin Rodney Sullivan, who made 1998's How Stella Got Her Groove Back, takes a more serious tone with Barbershop 2 and its characters. Screenwriter Don D. Scott, who co-scripted the original, adds a stronger conflict to the story this time. However, the jokes take a back seat. Most of the laughs, I think, still come from Cedric the Entertainer who mumbles and jumbles his lines, and I would advise turning on the subtitles or you might miss some things. Also, it almost seems as though the script is too careful not to offend or stir up a little politics talk. In the original, Cedric's Eddie made some statements that some viewed offensive, but they didn't bother me particularly. In any case, the laughs are not as good as in the original, but overall the sequel manages to entertain as an above-average comedy/drama.




MGM presents Barbershop 2 in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a very nice transfer with rich and crisp colors. Image quality is clean without any scratches or dirt. Compression artifacts or edge enhancement does not appear. There is very light grain, and definition is very clear. The picture looks quite sharp as well. A very good effort from MGM. Optional subtitles include English, French, and Spanish.




MGM presents Barbershop 2 in English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround. There is not much surround activity here except for the songs and occasional music score coming from the rear speakers, sort of. Dialogue is always clear and easy to understand, but you might want to turn on your subtitles to to be able to hear everything Cedric the Entertainer has to say. The soundtrack is mostly located in the front, but the speakers do a pretty good job; positional audio is apparent as is a decent amount of bass. A very nice presentation for an easy-going type of film. Alternate audio tracks include French 5.1 and Spanish Stereo.




This special edition DVD boasts two commentary tracks. The first one is a video/audio track with actors Cedric the Entertainer, Troy Garity, Sean Patrick Thomas and Jaszmin Lewis. A small box pops up at the bottom several times that shows the actors watching the film. Their conversations are sometimes interesting and amusing, but not for the duration as there are a few gaps or they just seem to watch the film. The second commentary with director Kevin Rodney Sullivan and producers Bob Teitel and George Tillman, Jr. is more informative and reflective. Their discussions are on topics such as working with the actors, shooting on location, getting through the fast-track production, etc.


Next are several deleted scenes with introductions from various cast members. The scenes themselves are fine, I don't think they add all that much to the film. A few minutes of outtakes provide some fun in terms of flubbed lines, on-set mishaps, and the occasional goof-off from the actors, but overall it's nothing special. There are also two music videos, an extended video of "Not Today" by Mary J. Blige featuring Eve, and the video "I Can't Wait" by Sleepy Brown featuring Outcast. Talk about "featuring" - a making-of featurette could've been a nice addition.


Rounding out the extras is a behind-the-scenes photo gallery and a selection of bonus trailers, including the film's theatrical trailer. The 106-minute feature is organized into ? chapters. There is no paper insert inside this keepcase DVD.




Barbershop 2 showcases some nice qualities being a sequel and all, such as having a good conflict, but the originality of the first film doesn't quite translate as well here. The story is good and the characters are mostly engaging, but a few subplots didn't work as intended. Also, the first film had better/more consistent jokes and laughs. On a technical level, however, Barbershop 2 is well done. DVD video/audio quality is pretty good, and the extras are only average for a "special edition" label. Overall, this DVD is a recommended rental.




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