February 10, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 72  

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The Barbershop is Back in Business

Barbershop 2: Back in Business
Starring: Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer
Directed by: Kevin Rodney Sullivan

By Idil Hersi
Gazette Writer

Gazette File Photo
HEY BARBER, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU CUT! Kenan Thompson stars as the haircutting rookie Kenard, one of the few new additions to Barbershop 2.

It’s July 4, 1967 in a dark alley on Chicago’s south side. A man is running — well, more like speed-waddling — from the police. With nowhere to turn, he seeks refuge in the first place he can successfully break into. Somehow, meat is involved.

Thus begins Barbershop 2: Back in Business. The original cast reunites to bring more laughs, more heart and more style with a sequel that’s surprisingly touching, and, not surprisingly, funny.

Calvin’s (Ice Cube) barbershop is the place to go for a good cut and good conversation. A neighbourhood institution since the late 1950s, it has survived its share of crises, including the infamous riots of 1968.

Conflict quickly ensues as competition threatens to destroy the neighbourhood. Calvin and his gang of razor-toting barbers must deal with a potential hostile takeover, as Nappy Cuts, a franchise hair-cutting juggernaut is about to put the barbershop out of business.

Gazette File Photo
STYLING HAIR EQUALS PLEASURE. Queen Latifah stars as Gina, a stylist who knows how to treat her customers right .

How can Calvin possibly compete with a place that has fish swimming in its glass floor? But compete he must, and Calvin and the gang set out on a crusade to save not only his business, but their home as well.

Most of the credit for the generous helping of laughs served up in the movie goes to Cedric the Entertainer, who reprises his role as Eddie. Half the words that leave his mouth are indiscernible, but the ones that aren’t will leave you laughing until the next joke lands. As well, the afro he has in the movie is itself enough to hold your attention.

The movie progresses at a brisk pace; in spite of a number of disorienting and pointless flashbacks, which only serve to fragment the overall flow of the film. The viewer anticipates a spectacular climax, but instead receives an oversimplified, unsatisfactory resolution. This movie is not high art, so those expecting it to get their neurons firing should keep their expectations low.

The audience is treated to brain-busters like, “So... which white boy would you sleep with?” and pearls of wisdom such as, “Control your anger, or your anger will control you.” Thankfully, these nuggets of enlightenment are only intermittently scattered throughout the film.

Overall, Barbershop 2 is worth a look. Granted, there is no new premise in this movie: it doesn’t break any cinematic ground or offer up any life-changing revelations, but that’s not what audiences should go in expecting.

This movie is heartwarming, honest and true to its comedic roots. It is not brimming with sentimentality, nor does it make the mistake of becoming preachy. Barbershop 2 goes down smoothly, with no sugary after-taste.

Is director Sullivan delivering a commentary on the downsides of free enterprise and a “progress at all costs” mentality? Or, is Barbershop 2 just another music industry A-list-studded movie fully equipped with laughs and an emotional buffer?

You be the judge. All things considered, the title says it all: the Barbershop is Back in Business.



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