Plot: Calvin (Ice Cube) was able to keep his barbershop open and fend off a predatory developer, but while the neighborhood remained intact, the uptick in business has brought in more outside attention. A new threat soon arrives, but this isn’t someone looking to take over Calvin’s family business, instead a rival salon looks to replace him outright. Quentin (Harry Lennix) has opened Nappy Cutz, a high end barbershop with all the luxuries, the kind of experience Calvin just can’t match, with his basic, but trusted approach to the business. As he tries to rally support and come up with a plan to compete, his staff is distracted by problems of their own and as such, aren’t able to lend much direct help. Will Calvin be able keep his business alive in a newly competitive market, or is this is the end for his neighborhood barbershop?
Entertainment Value: The first Barbershop was an unexpected box office hit, so it was no surprise to see a sequel released soon after. The narrative here is more of the same, stacking the odds against Calvin and his family owned business, so this is more or less just a reworked take on the original movie. While the main story brings little new to the table, Barbershop 2 seems to recognize that and populates the movie with several small threads about Calvin’s employees. I wouldn’t say any of those personal stories are any more inventive or original, but those threads allow some plot movement and keep things active. So moving between the stories helps the movie feel more kinetic, even if we are just switching between forgettable narratives. I think the first Barbershop is the better, more entertaining movie, as this sequel just feels like a watered down version, to cash in on the original’s success. But if you’re mainly here for the cast and characters, perhaps you’ll find a little more to like.
A colorful ensemble is on hand for this sequel and most of the performances are solid, but no one really stands out as memorable or dynamic. Cedric the Entertainer feels especially out of place at times, as he goes beyond over the top, despite being given the thread with the most weight. So to have a serious story behind his character, only to have this ridiculous, Saturday Night Live sketch level performance is odd, but the sheer silliness of his presence adds a little humor. Ice Cube is fine, but just goes through the motions and this could be because the narrative is the same as before, which doesn’t give him much to expand on. So he is passable, but thankfully the supporting players are able to soak up some of the attention. I always like to see Harry Lennix and again, he isn’t handed much to do, but he makes the most of what the material offers and has one of the better efforts here. The cast also includes Eve, Queen Latifah, Sean Patrick Thomas, and Troy Garity.
The Disc: Released by MVD Entertainment as part of their MVD Marquee Collection, Barbershop 2 looks fine on Blu-ray and should please most fans, even if it doesn’t dazzle with the visuals. The print is in good shape, but shows some light debris at times and detail remains solid, even if not super refined. The colors look natural and contrast is smooth, so no woes in those areas. This might not be a head turning visual effort, but the movie looks good in this edition. The extras kick off with two audio commentary tracks, one with several crew members and the other with selected cast present, so you can hear from both sides of the camera. The cast session also includes some video of the recording process, though these clips are sporadic. You can also check out some music videos, outtakes, deleted scenes, and the film’s trailer.