'Barbershop 2: Back In Business' (Special Edition)
(Ice Cube, Cedric The Entertainer, Queen Latifah, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2004) 2018 / MVD Visual)
Overview: Barbershop owner Calvin (Ice Cube) finds his mom-and-pop business threatened when a glitzy, high-class hair salon opens across the street in this hilarious and heart-warming comic sequel.
Blu-ray Verdict: The first 'Barbershop' movie was a surprise hit, poking fun at the issues and attitudes of urban life from a freewheeling and fresh perspective.
However, and sadly, that same open-mindedness made the film a target of some organizations angry at its scandalous script, which included snipes at civil rights champions such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The second installment, 'Barbershop 2: Back in Business', wisely avoids such controversy and better yet, manages to deliver laughs at a more consistent pace than its predecessor.
As with the previous film, 'Barbershop 2' is replete with conversations and ideas that tend to polarize people. Interracial marriage, celebrity misdeeds, and many other contentious issues make their appearance in the film's dialogue.
But the humorous side of these matters is continually keep in focus, and long before the banter begins to resemble a social diatribe, it is transformed into a moment of outright hilarity.
'Barbershop 2's plot is just as generic as the original film. This time it's not a despotic loan shark threatening to bring an end to the neighborhood hang out, but a high-gloss, corporate sponsored hair joint opening just across the street.
But this story line frequently fades to the rear, becoming more or less a background element to the film, called upon only in spurts to provide momentary drama. The majority of the movie's time is spent whisking through a long litany of mini-skits and subplots.
In fact, 'Barbershop 2's construction more resembles cinematic jambalaya, a mostly convoluted fusion of many abbreviated scenes. A number of these lead absolutely nowhere, while others include out of place oddities such as a couple rhythmically dancing at a lonely train station or a group of women doing a "sister soldier" version of beach yoga.
The film flows along with extreme moodiness, moving hurriedly from humor to seriousness to sudden anger and back to humor again. The most mundane and trivial events, without sufficient reason, explode into moments of heated conflict.
The original film suffered from a similar unevenness. However, although these blemishes tend to annoy, they don't completely rob the film of entertainment value.
Ergo, and to its credit, 'Barbershop 2' wisely centers its humor around the first film's riotous old-timer, Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer). Once again, this geezerly cross between old school and old fool provides plenty of seam-splitting laughs as he freely doles out romantic advice, bestows cutting personal quips, and shares humorously nostalgic "tales from the hood".
Kenan Thompson also adds to the fun as Kenard, a shop newbie who constantly seems to overestimates himself.
In the midst of these fickle antics, 'Barbershop 2' sprinkles some soul-pleasing themes about community, loyalty, and ethnic harmony. Even a nod to religion motivation is conveyed, despite the frequent use of profanity throughout the film.
In closing, 'Barbershop 2' certainly won't win any awards for originality, and its appeal doesn't reach much farther than the raw pleasure brought about by its humor, but not much more is really expected of the film. So with that said, that's good 'n' plenty right there, my friends! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Commentary featuring actors Cedric the Entertainer, Sean Patrick Thomas, Troy Garity and Jazsmin Lewis
Audio Commentary with Director Kevin Sullivan and Producers Bob Teitel and George Tillman Jr.
6 Deleted Scenes (SD)
Extended Music Video: "Not Today" - Mary J. Blige feat. Eve (SD)
Music Video: "I Can't Wait" - Sleepy Brown featuring OutKast (SD)
Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery (SD)
"Barbershop 2: Back in Business' Original Theatrical Trailer (SD)
'Barbershop' Original Theatrical Trailer (SD)
'Beauty Shop' Original Theatrical Trailer (SD)