A/V Room









Barbershop 2: Back In Business (12A)

Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary with director and producers; Music videos featuring Mary J Blige & Eve and Outkast; Easter egg; Deleted scenes; Outtakes; Photo gallery; Trailer; Behind the scenes photo gallery.

THE hairdressers from Barbershop reunite for a surprise sequel, following the word-of-mouth success of 2002’s original, but, needless to say, things aren’t quite as sharp this time around.

Calvin (Ice Cube) is still struggling to make ends meet, while his hairdressing crew continue their signature discussions, but while the camaraderie still exists, the premise feels a little more strained this time, making the generous running time seem a little exhausting.

The plot finds Calvin’s shop under threat from a money-hungry corporation, which intends to ‘re-gentrify’ the neighbourhood, by bringing in coffee bars, video stores and a big-name haircut chain, while his employees encounter their usual complications.

But aside from the odd moment of inspiration and joviality, things tend to feel a little over-stretched, leaving you with the feeling that this would be better-suited to a short, crisp sitcom, rather than a full-blown movie.

Perhaps the absence of original script-writer, Mark Brown, has had some effect, but there is little of the spark which made the first film such a success, which merely serves to highlight how formulaic the plot remains.

Producer, Robert Teitel, said he wanted the sequel to explore how ‘communities cope with change’, especially when faced with a loss of identity, and, while the film does resist the temptation to become overly sentimental, things fail to gel as well as they might.

The cast works well together, but seldom get close to establishing the bond which made the ensembles in Friends, Cheers or Frasier so special.

And therein lies its biggest problem - the film quickly becomes boring and unable to sustain the interest over such a long period of time.

Of the support players, Cedric the Entertainer probably comes off best, as his back story is relayed via a series of flashbacks, which show a former life of crime, as well as a potential love interest.

But story arcs involving Eve, as the only female member of the barber shop team, who has to face up to hidden feelings, Sean Patrick Thomas, as a political idealist who is about to learn some tough lessons, and Troy Garity, as the only white member of the crew, who wants more recognition for his talents, fail to rise above the average, only fleetingly hinting at the humour contained within their predicaments.

A ‘special’ appearance by Queen Latifah also fails to live up to its billing, and feels more smug and self-congratulatory, than worthwhile.

Fans of the original will, no doubt, welcome the opportunity of hanging out with this crew once again, but Barbershop 2 feels as pointless a sequel as a bald man requesting a stylist.

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