Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Ensemble Film, Urban Comedy, Workplace Comedy  |   Release Date - Feb 6, 2004 (USA)  |   Run Time - 106 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Barbershop 2: Back in Business does everything a good sequel should -- it brings back the characters you want to see, recreates the atmosphere, and tries not to do too much. The first Barbershop was a pleasure because it featured an occasionally volatile cross-section of Chicago African-Americans co-existing in a warm communal setting, but also because it refused to let these characters off the hook, calling them out on behavior that might go unchecked in a lesser film. Playing that devil's advocate voice again is Cedric the Entertainer as Eddie, the salty-haired tonsorial curmudgeon who instigates such racially self-deprecating smack talk as calling the Washington, D.C., sniper the "Jackie Robinson of crime." It echoes a similar passage in the first film in which Eddie denounces Rosa Parks as merely tired, rather than a civil rights pioneer. Unfortunately, the barbershop chatter is less incisive and less frequent than in the first film, and this tepidness carries over to the character arcs as well. Everybody's back from the first film, but they've got less to do and less to distinguish themselves as individuals. Of the new additions to the cast, Queen Latifah is memorable enough to have inspired the distaff third installment of the series, Beauty Shop (2005). Kenan Thompson is also memorable, but for the wrong reasons -- as Calvin's annoying nephew who uses nepotism to score a chair, Thompson sticks out like a sore thumb. Barbershop 2 is a little too comfortable to be as truthful as the first, but as sequels go, it holds up just fine.