Barbershop 2: Back in Business (3/10)

Copyright © 2004 by Tony Medley

A new hairstyling shop is moving in across the street, threatening the viability of the old barbershop that’s been there since 1958, owned by Calvin (Ice Cube).

Barbershop 2 is a weak, too rarely humorous, too long bore. One of the big problems is that the speech of Cedric the Entertainer (Eddie) is so mumbled and hard to understand he needs subtitles, and there’ aren’t any. When he speaks it’s often as if he’s speaking in some foreign language. Maybe his lines were funny. I’ll never know.

Another problem is that just about every other word during the first hour is a four-letter word for excrement beginning with “sh” and ending with “t.” The only people in the film who use proper English are Alderman Brown (Robert Wisdom) and Quentin Leroux (Harry Lennix), the businessman who’s trying to open a hairstyling shop across the street from the barbershop. They are the only ones who speak with correct grammar and they are the bad guys.

Even though they’re the bad guys, Wisdom and Lennix are also the two most appealing actors in the movie. Wisdom captures the corrupt but charming politician perfectly and Lennix is a believable businessman. The only parts of the movie I enjoyed were the scenes with Wisdom.

Even though Calvin makes a Capraesque speech in front of Alderman Brown’s Board, the Board has apparently never heard of Frank Capra, so they vote him down. Undaunted, the filmmakers still give this such a syrupy, unrealistic Capraesque ending that it loses what little appeal it might have had, which wasn’t much. Barbershop 2 flunked the watch test as I looked at mine more than a dozen times, willing it to end.

February 4, 2004